Sunday, January 9, 2011

Back to Mammoth Crest

Steve, Anne and I headed back to the TJ area hoping to ski another fine chute off the crest

We began our tour at the Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center, where we were quickly greeted by this fine sight of a Bald Eagle soaring over Twin Lakes.
We were a bit dismayed by the stronger than expected winds, although the back lit snow plumes off the ridges were beautiful.
I set off a shallow hard slab slide on the way up. The crown was 2" to 4" thick and about 15 yards wide. The slab had formed from wind deposited snow over the old, soft snow.
It ran a couple hundred feet down the apron. Not dangerous itself, but a huge warning sign to stay off steep terrain and watch for the localized slabs.
Fortunately we found some nice powder snow that had not yet been wrecked by the wind.
We skinned over to Hammill Bowl to have a look, did not like what we saw (steep, windloaded terrain) and skinned back over to the shallow, treed run next to TJ Bowl.
Anne found good snow here too, although we had to watch for crust.
Good fun and a good reminder - there doesn't need to be a recent storm to increase avalanche hazard, wind alone can move a lot of snow and create dangerous slabs.

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