Monday, April 7, 2014

3/28/2014, Crow Pass, Girdwood

Tired from a solid day touring around in Turnagain Pass on 3/27, Drew and I got a later start, and weren't skinning out of the Crow Pass trailhead until early afternoon on 3/28.  Our goal was to hike up and check out some North facing zones we been prospecting.  We were confident there would be some good snow, and were stoked to check out a new area.  

Were going over there. 

Pre-shred challenges: creek crossing and steep bushwhacking. 

Our efforts were rewarded though, with one of these 2500' beasts. 

Sheltered North facing slopes were harboring soft re-crystalized snow, but nearly two weeks of clear dry weather had created lots of variable surface conditions.  Drew and I agreed that we should boot up which ever chute we wanted to ride, to be aware of any unforgiving surface conditions.  Getting up into the chute, conditions were looking good; one or two icy sections, but mostly re-crystalized powder.

Drew's stoked 

About 200' from the top of our line, we were observing of a surface windslab.  In the next 20' of hiking, this windslab grew from 1" to 5" thick.  This was concerning. We stopped and evaluated our position and the snow conditions.  We were high up on the slope, in an exposed position, just below the start zone of a large slide path.  We quickly determined we would go no further, and would transition where we were.  Transitioning and dropping on a steep/exposed portion of slope is never ideal, but we felt it unwise to continue to the ridge, and test the growing windslab.    

(photo: Drew VanNice) 

Ready to drop, this should be fun. (photo: Drew VanNice)

Good view.  (photo: Drew VanNice)

Drew coming down the top portion of the chute.

And slashing through the dog leg… 

And down the gut.

And a couple hundred figure 8's later, we were looking back at the chute'r.

 After 45 minutes of bushwhacking and split-sking, we were enjoying a well deserved beer at the car.