Taylor Skid Marks


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Updated: Wednesday, Feb 7, 2018 6:28 PM
  ·  
Posted: Wednesday, Feb 7, 2018 5:56 PM
Avalanche Red Flags
Rapid temperature rise  
Observer(s):
Brian Sather*
Report Type:
Snow Conditions
Category:
Backcountry Ski
RideGuide:
Mule Peak Ski
Keywords:
Wallowas    Mule Peak    Catherine   
My crotch and arms despise the 77 road, so I've been avoiding it all year but I got suckered onto it today and it lived up to expectation. The whoops aren't big because not much snow is there, but it is ice and ruts all the way to the warming shelter. Surprisingly there is snow still on it all the way to the sno-park but just barely, but carbides will hit dirt sporadically for the first mile. Also a shocker is that the sno-park has snow on it, which is contrary to what we reported on the podcast yesterday. I guess this shouldn't be a surprise, since this sno-park never gets plowed so what is there is the entire year's snowpack crushed down by hoards of slednecks. So the good news is that we can break out the fishing poles to fish this pond in a short amount of time.

Out at Taylor Green the snowpack is barely hanging on. Nothing is fully covered on the ground so you have to dodge trees, rocks, shrubs, and stumps if you dare go off trail. And of course everyone has done that and with the lack of snow, every track from eternity is still visible. I even saw dirt on a summer trail above 6,000' in a couple spots.

On a positive note, the snow is bridging well now so the downhill skiing is creamy and spring-like on Mule Peak. I had some good turns and somehow managed to only hit one rock way farther down. There is about 5' of snow on Mule Peak but that is about 1/3 of normal for this time of year. I got a decent look at several slopes in the Wallowas from there and didn't see any avalanche evidence.

If you're wondering why I haven't been doing any stability tests on the obs, that is because the snowpack is so spring-like that the tests aren't very useful. In other words it is warm and compacted so stability tests aren't going to tell much about slab avalanche triggering by a skier. Case in point is my reference to bridging, whereby when I skied down the slope today I was not puncturing through the top layer with my skies so there is little to no chance I can trigger a slab avalanche.



Backcountry observations provided or vetted by trained avalanche professionals.
The Snow
New Snow
--
Total Snow
160 cm
Slope/Aspect
29° / SW
Elevation
8600'

Snow Depths
Location #1: Mule Peak SW Aspect — 160 cm (map)
The Weather
Temperature
7°C
Sky
Broken (5/8 - 7/8)
Precipitation
No Precipitation
Wind
Northwest at 1-16 mph
Still some ice clinging to trees at 8,600'
Taylor warming shelter
Carnage
Lots of skidmarks in the snow.
Runnels in The Meadow
Pole Creek has blown out the snowbridges within the last week.
Catherine Summit Sno-pond
Catherine Summit