FLUTE – OBOE January 25, 2009

We cheated death and crossed into out-of-bounds terrain and skied into Flute Oboe area. E facing slope just outside ski area boundary @ Lesser Flute was windhammered. Crossed over to SE facing slope which had better snow – HS 170cm. Hard result @ ~ 35 and 65 cm resistant planar. Snow pack was uniformly dense below top 20cms showing right-side up characteristics. 28 degree, minus 14 air temp, ~ 1940m, clear skies, winds light  from N – NW.

Decomposing facets ~ 1.5 – 2mm grains close to surface on top of ice crust- possibly Dec 6th layer. Stability was

Good to Very Good on particular SE and E aspects.

Cowboy Ridge is sun-affected per another group that went there. Lesser Flute and Flute in the area boundary has pretty bold lines and looks like it’s been gang-banged.

Top 20cms was Fist 1F snow -fast, good powder skiing

Overall things are settling down but:

1) it looks like its still pretty easy to trigger slides off rocky start zones (from looking at natural slides and presence of facets still @ surface)

2) Snowpack is well below last 3 years pack in Flute Oboe area

3) N winds swirl around a lot in the Oboe Creek drainage so wind transport is pretty random. You have to pay pretty close attention to aspect to get good skiing

4) It’s nice to know what the area looks like in summer so that you have some idea of where the snow tends to blow and what the ground surface is like. I know that doesn’t help anyone other then travellers familiar with the terrain so take it fwiw.

Assessing wind effect on E facing slope

Pictures of recent slides – natural off Oboe ridge initiating on rocks at rocky ridge (top shot). Bottom shot is from two weeks ago. Not much action in terms of new snow since then

We skinned up the face of Lesser Flute; it had been crushed by the what looks like hordes of the Mongol Khanate who I’m sure enjoyed the craptastic windpressed found on lines off Flute and Lesser Flute. Should have just gone over Flute to the Pigs Fancy Saddle. After assesssing snowpack we skied a nice line E off Flute and pulled out to Oboe Creek

Lines off Flute’s backside to Oboe Creek

Lots of bootpacking action going on in Flute and many random groups either in or entering the area. Figuring that the low-hanging fruit had already been picked we wandered over to Oboe to see if there were any other faces that need a right good rogering.

Jimmy checking out the nice soft windlines on Oboe

We found some snow that hadn’t been despoiled and tried to take care of that error. We liked that aspect so much we decided to lap it the rest of the day.


More Oboe – the top of the slope had sun

We can all live together in peace and harmony

Back to the barn in the teeth of the N wind as the sun dips to the horizon

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