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December 21, 2001, Mt. Baker Backcountry

WA Cascades West Slopes North (Mt Baker)
Posted by ema on 9/16/02 10:30pm
Oddly enough, it is not expected to snow substantially for at least a couple of days in the North Cascades; it's like someone abruptly shut off the spigot. I squeezed another half-day trip between much-needed sleep and the round of seasonal parties: two of us skied silky-smooth south and east-facing glades between 4200 and 5500 feet, finding Wednesday's snow somewhat more consolidated than it was previously, but still powdery and apparently stable to steeper than 40 degrees. We were in and out of fog all day, with clear windows which would open magically, framing spectacular views which seemed to float out in space, un-anchored to the physical world, before closing again only to reappear elsewhere. At other times, the sunlight filtering through the fog and reflecting off the snow in the old growth glades made the whole world seem to fluoresce in a way that put me in mind of certain psychoactive substances in which I used to indulge from time to time.

We did note that a size 2.5 hard slab had released from the usual place on the south face of Mt. Herman, burying the up track put in just yesterday and used by at least three or four parties, sending a few refrigerator-sized blocks of ice and snow almost to the valley floor. This one would have been difficult to predict, having no apparent immediate relation to sun, air temperatures or wind deposition.



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2002-09-17 05:30:47