Mt. Baker Ski Backcountry

First day of the new season and what a start. Snow depth of 160cms in trees. Probably 180 cms in open with more in windloaded slopes. Stuck to windward slopes that were still somewhat cross-loaded north of Herman saddle area which I am told are called “Ten Second trees”. Area has gullies and ridgelines; some get cliffed out and some go to the bottom; started climbing at 1285m and topped out on a ridge at 1420m. First trail break took approximately 1hr 45mins for that small elevation gain. Stuck to the ridge lines for the first run and ski-cut convexities. As expected, the convexities reacted – 30cms crowns, smooth bed surface, 4F w/s. Unexpected was how that the crown propogates fairly far (30m to each side). Second and third run, stuck to a gully with run-outs to the side. On the way out saw naturals in wind and cross loaded slopes with 30 cms crown lines on previous days rain crust and W/S with substantial propagation.

Snowed approx 20 – 25cms/hour while we were there. Trailbreaking was tricky. Snow is not consolidated but is bonding well. I would guess this could mean some thick slabs at least in the next few days pending the next rain event.

Click here for Pat’s writeups and pictures.

Anticipation. Photo by Pat Mulrooney

More anticipation. John’s spanking new truck and skis.

Opening day ritual. Photo by Pat Mulrooney

Just about the best view we’d get the whole day today – it started dumping soon thereafter

Mike gets karma points for clearing off this bridge and not falling in.

Baker bridge crossing. Photo by Pat Mulrooney

Breaking chest-deep trail with skis is hard enough. Following the loosely packed tracked in snowshoes is murder. Right now Dave would pay a lot for a splitboard

Lee has first face shots of the year. Photo by Pat Mulrooney

John getting the skis wet

Danielle with a good recovery from knee surgery

Dave finding out why snowboards are the deep powder tool of choice

Mike gets payback for bridge-clearing work. Photo by Pat Mulrooney

More John steeze. Photo by Pat Mulrooney

Biggest hazard of the whole day was John’s truck limbo on this fallen tree on the Mt Baker highway. Thanks to his excellent driving skills (no doubt honed in many Kootenay backroads) we didn’t end up in the ditch and were ok.

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