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March 9, 2003, Mt Pilchuck

WA Cascades West Slopes Central
Posted by scotteryx on 3/11/03 6:34am
Even with the extreme avy dangers posted, I had to get out in the snow and get some exercise. So 2 of us skiers and 3 snowshoers headed up to Pilchuck Sunday morning.

We parked at mile 4.5 and hiked the remaining 2.5 to the trailhead. Saw the normal freaks and scary people that I always see up there.

We decided to take the trail up as the direct route would be nasty, even though there were some anchors on most of those hills, the slopes above were the factor that made us take the safer trail detour. We broke trail since we hit the trail, and as it became 11-12am it got so wearm, and the snow got heavy and wet. Once we broke out of the trees and out on the open slopes we stopped for lunch and I dug a pit. Got about 5 feet down in the 8 foot base, and did a shovel shear test. The top 1.5-2 feet slid off before I was able to get the shovel all the way down.
The most incredible thing was the layer was resting on a 2 inch base of small snow pellets. It was textbook scary, and our thoughts of skiing back down the ski run had been cancelled. I have never seen a more unstable snowpack before! So we skied down the trail which was not so bad, plus we got to the cars 45 minutes before the snowshoers!

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2003-03-11 14:34:44