Thursday, February 23, 2012

Some Interesting Snow Tests Today

 I went out today to scout conditions for the 10th grade Winter Trip and found some really interesting snow.  There is about 10-12 new inches of snow in the Galena Summit area in the last two days, seasoned with some pretty strong winds.  The hazard rating was considerable.  I was solo so I stayed  in green light terrain--but most likely would have done so with a larger group--given the results I got.  

Pretty nice day
Saw at least three naturals:  D1-D2 range.  Widespread whoomping, some shooting cracks in wind affected areas.  Above is one D2 sized natural just to the east of Governor's Punch Bowl.  I did several hand shears and got easy results on the new/old inter-phase.
A close look:  Starting zone:  East exposure  Low 40deg.  Found a safe zone just above the crown line and did a few stability tests.
Compression Test
Extended Column Test:  Went on 9 with a Q-2  
 My conclusions below

Skiing was excellent--stay safe out there

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Because Snow Slides Downhill....

Level I Avalanche Course - February 2012

SVT Lead Guide Joe St. Onge putting Benny K. "on the clock" 

Beginning the fine search with Joe offering encouragement.

This past weekend several of our own OLA students and faculty went through the 24 hour - Level I Avalanche Course offered by the American Avalanche Association, the nice folks Sun Valley Trekking, and hosted by Community School.

The course focus was not on the minutia of snow crystal formation and the semantics of snow pack metamorphosis (things that didn't pass the "so what" test), rather it was a distillation of the broader concepts  that directly inform individual and group decision-making and lead to best practices when traveling in avalanche terrain.

Course participants refined their rescue skills during single and multiple burial scenarios, scrutinized slope angles, analyzed sample and real-life tour plans, digested daily weather conditions and avalanche forecasts, and practiced open and candid communication in the field to manage each other and the entire group effectively.

For those in the Mountain and Rock endorsement, this is a outstanding introduction to the skills needed to minimize your risk in the backcountry or alpine environment during the winter months.

Establishing the 1X1 box. 
Assessing the "Tupperware Box" Victim

Patiently waiting skis....Galena. 
Maranda prepping the Rustchblock. (Day 2)
Bonzai! Final attempt to get the rustchblock to move. 
Gunnar: In Flux
Joe helps identify the "islands of safety".  Avalanche Peak. 
Peeling skins after a brief facet mining session on Proctor. (Day 3)

Regrouping before dropping into Trail Creek. 

Maranda on the Proctor descent. (Day 3) 

Why would you ever stand in a lift line? 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Really interesting video

Worth a watch for you snow dorks and anybody that wants to think about ski decision making...


Cooper Cutting a cornice

Cooper and Travis showing us how to safely stomp a cornice
Ders having fun

Faculty Ski Day Rides Again

This Sunday Tim, Nancy and I went back country skiing.  We didn't expect much as it hadn't snowed for almost a month--but I have a few secret powder stashes--the deep dark due north above the rain line that I though just might still be holding good snow. 

Nancy on the climb
Da Boys

Tim getting close to nature

What the skiing was like--bottom of our first run.  Snow quality exceeded all expectations!!  I sure hope to see some more OLAers next time we go out.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

After school tour with Ders and Coop

Anders and Cooper get the credit for making this one happen. I love post-school skiing as much as the next guy, but I've been fighting off the black lung and have been behind on work. They reminded me that this counts as work, so there you go. Timmy Price and I headed out with the boys directly after school (I may or may not have skipped a meeting) and headed out Morgan Ridge. The first run was a little snarky and we had some navigation issues to admit to (well, I did). But, the second run was a beauty. Life is good. Thanks boys!