Big Jim Hill, mashed potatoes to wind slabs

WA Stevens Pass
Posted by Jaysen on 1/17/21 8:42pm

 2-9 inches of mashed potatoes 🤢 from the parking lot to about 4800', 3 inches of wet, heavy, sticky powder on top of those taters from 4800'-5200', then some frisky wind blown powder caches and ice patches near treeline. Above treeline into the bowl we experienced obvious signs of wind, loading, slabs and cracks. Most of these products of the 40+ mile an hour wind that was had at the summit last night and that had now been reduced to 15 mph gusts were small and well bonded to the underlying snow pack, it seemed. Once we got to 6000', the angle slope increased and after digging some pits we found that the wind slabs, now getting 4 inches thick, we're very reactive on the underlying precip crust. Although it was obvious where the pockets of wind affected snow started and stopped between the scoured vertical ice rollers, we didn't feel like risking it for what ended up being mediocre snow anyways. 

On the way down we "enjoyed" 3 feet of cascade powder with an unpredictable crust on top, hucking ourselves over creek drainages and tree trunks that came out of no where, and almost taking a dip in the most exposed part of henry creek, skiers right of the largest avalanche debris pile. Who needs Christmas in July when you can have surprise spring in January? No surprise that all other tracks of other groups for the day stopped after the first big clearing.

Wind slab


Terrible photo of a cohesive wind slab that stayed put as the snow underneath it gave away when isolating a column

Thanks for the timely report. I want to fet up there, but not yet!

As the old saying goes, I'm glad you skied it so we don't have to. 

Reply to this TR

2021-01-18 04:42:28