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Couloir Season 2013

Info, conditions and gear related to skiing or riding Colorado Peaks, including the 14ers! Ski/Ride Trip Reports
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:04 am

Carl wrote:
Fletch wrote:How were the Crestones?


I decided to wait since it's supposed to dump down there this week. Although it sounds like lack of snow wasn't the only problem Ben and Matt found with the snowpack. Had a good ski of Bald Mtn on Saturday with lordhelmut and crew.

Did you guys ski the north side of Bald? I really like that main couloir just below the summit and have skied it in May but not April.
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby ajkagy » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:10 am

Carl wrote:
Fletch wrote:How were the Crestones?


I decided to wait since it's supposed to dump down there this week. Although it sounds like lack of snow wasn't the only problem Ben and Matt found with the snowpack. Had a good ski of Bald Mtn on Saturday with lordhelmut and crew.


8-14+ expected down in the crestones and it looks stormy through the rest of this week, should bode well for coverage. Nice pics on bald, looked awesome.

winter is just getting started :-D
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby Carl » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:33 am

BillMiddlebrook wrote:Did you guys ski the north side of Bald? I really like that main couloir just below the summit and have skied it in May but not April.


I stole a pic of yours from years past and drew the lines we skied on it. Our group of 9 split up on the summit just for sake of not skiing in such a large group and spreading out the fun. I skied the line in red. Great conditions. Props to Brian for putting the trip together.
Image

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby Elliot » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:43 am

Peak 1 april 7 2013 022 compressed.JPG
Peak 1 april 7 2013 022 compressed.JPG (29.22 KiB) Viewed 242 times


I would concur with other reports of not all aspects being green light special...on peak one north we found lots of wind loading up high. While the new snow had bonded very well to the old crusts, there was a two inch layer that proved to be reactive, mainly above 12k. all in all great skiing and manageble conditions. Also saw large cat tracks not far from the bike path.

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby SamS » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:46 am

nkan02 wrote:
SamS wrote:Skied Cristo Couloir on Quandary on Sunday. Ascended the standard route. Skinned all the way to the top with no issues, snow cover is surprisingly good. The couloir is all filled in save for a ~10' section of rock at the top that we had to step through.

Snow in the couloir proper was pretty dang good. Anywhere form 6-12" of light snow from the night before that was getting loaded pretty well into that aspect. Underneath was boilerplate (we started skiing at about 10am). (Careful) Face shots the whole way down! Stability was pretty good too. The lower snowpack was frozen solid and the fresh was bonded pretty well. I'll post some pictures once my partner emails them to me.

Overall a great day!

Interesting... We made it to the bottom of the couloir on Sunday (my philosophy is to go up the line that I intend to ski down), checked the snowpack condition - dust on crust, not bonded at all, fresh layer was sliding right away under the skis (@8am). We took another good look at the weather - strong winds and little sun, which meant that there was little hope for consolidating snow by the time it was to ski - and made a decision to bail. In addition, coverage still looked pretty thin as compared to the last time I climbed it 2 years ago.

We headed over to the resort, and attempted (emphasis on "attempted") to ski a few steeper, east/south facing lines, and my partner's comment was "I remember skiing on worst snow, but don't remember when". This compared to primo spring skiing conditions on Saturday... So we proceeded to grill some bratwursts on the beach and watched the crazy weather - anything from a blizzard to fog to 30 seconds of sun here and there.


That is interesting indeed. We had one section up top where I kicked of a 2-3" loose dry slough that ran for about 20-30' (slope angle was probably over 45 there, steepest we saw) but other than that no instability at all. Fresh snow was mostly wind deposited and unconsolidated (we weren't worried about slabs). Coverage was great, neither of us hit anything outside of the rocky choke up top. I think coverage on just about anything will look a bit pathetic compared to 2 years ago...

It's interesting how a few hours and different perspective can result in such different conditions evaluations. Certainly the snowpack isn't a blind green light right now, for us though, cristo was quite manageable.

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby COBuckeye » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:49 am

With all the reports on here regarding poor bonding, breakable crusts, large sloughs, and "winter conditions", how come CAIC has nearly all areas/aspecs/elevations rated at green?
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby lordhelmut » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:00 pm

Carl wrote:
BillMiddlebrook wrote:Did you guys ski the north side of Bald? I really like that main couloir just below the summit and have skied it in May but not April.


I stole a pic of yours from years past and drew the lines we skied on it. Our group of 9 split up on the summit just for sake of not skiing in such a large group and spreading out the fun. I skied the line in red. Great conditions. Props to Brian for putting the trip together.
Image


The line in black was powder, top to bottom!

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby Scott P » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:05 pm

With all the reports on here regarding poor bonding, breakable crusts, large sloughs, and "winter conditions", how come CAIC has nearly all areas/aspecs/elevations rated at green?


#1; there hasn't been a sizable snowstorm in a while, so most areas are stable (this will change quickly with this new storm).

#2; avalanche ratings are a generalization for a whole area. It doesn't mean that everything is stable or vice versa. Avalanche conditions can change in a few feet; not to mention an entire region.
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby Elliot » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:07 pm

note-the last storm snow bonded very well in summit, just the post storm windloading was poorly bonded easily identified and manageable. N above treeline certainly could be put at mod. The bottom layer of rot facets have rounded.

Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby Bean » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:12 pm

Scott P wrote:#2; avalanche ratings are a generalization for a whole area. It doesn't mean that everything is stable or vice versa. Avalanche conditions can change in a few feet; not to mention an entire region.

This is the main thing given our continental (thin, crappy) snowpack and big forecast areas.

Something else that is purely a personal hypothesis (and could be entirely wrong) is that in CO, "above treeline" is a huge range. Things may be generally well bonded and consolidated at 12,500' but it can be an entirely different story in a narrow couloir at 14,000'. I always consider the danger level higher way up until things go full-on corn.
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:56 pm

lordhelmut wrote:
Carl wrote:
BillMiddlebrook wrote:Did you guys ski the north side of Bald? I really like that main couloir just below the summit and have skied it in May but not April.


I stole a pic of yours from years past and drew the lines we skied on it. Our group of 9 split up on the summit just for sake of not skiing in such a large group and spreading out the fun. I skied the line in red. Great conditions. Props to Brian for putting the trip together.
Image


The line in black was powder, top to bottom!

Very nice! The black line is the way I've skied that side.
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby Dave B » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:09 pm

Elliot wrote:note-the last storm snow bonded very well in summit, just the post storm windloading was poorly bonded easily identified and manageable. N above treeline certainly could be put at mod. The bottom layer of rot facets have rounded.


Bean wrote:Something else that is purely a personal hypothesis (and could be entirely wrong) is that in CO, "above treeline" is a huge range.


^^^These.

We climbed Tony's Nightmare last Thursday in Officers Gulch and there was a large debris flow from a slide just above the second pitch. The debris was fresh and I'm guessing it was from the 6" storm reported by Copper on Tuesday last week. The slopes above Tony's are west facing so I doubt this was a wind slab release but more likely a poorly bonded storm slab.
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