Friday, November 12, 2010

Hiland Road, November 11

The Wind Advisery forecast for Turnagain Pass had me thinking about other options. Normally Hatcher Pass would be the answer, but it has forgoten to snow there so far this year. I was hearing good things about Hiland Road in Eagle River and decided to check it out.

There's a perfect plowed pull-out in the runout of a 1,300' couloir on the NE side of the road. There was about 8" of snow at the pull-out (2,000'), but conditions improved rapidily above 2,800'. The couloir eventually tops out on a ridge and continues up to a peak (~4,600') 1 mile NW of Harp Mountain.

Pit Results: NW aspect, 35°, 3,500', Mostly cloudy, wind out of the East
Depth: 59 cm
CT 28 Q2 at 31cm

The snow looked excellent and the light decided to cooperate. Unfortunately there are thousands of sharks lurking just below the surface. Plink, plink. There just isn't enough base at Hiland to let 'em run. Skiers' left in the couloir was better; it was loaded with about 3' of wind blown cream. The bottom 800' was slow and stressful due to the lack of base at this elevation.

Looking SW into the State Park

Top of 3 Bowls

Monday, November 8, 2010

Turnagain: November 6-7

Just a quick update on snow conditions at Turnagain.

As of Sunday afternoon. there was 24" in the meadow near the Tincan pull-out. I dug 3 pits on Tincan at 2,000', 2,200', and 2,900'. Depth ranged from 60" to 65". Snow was generally heavy and wet with conditions improving dramatically above 2,500'.

On Saturday I got a CT20-Q3 at 2' down. I couldn't get this (or any other) layer to fail on Sunday. Despite varying densities in the snowpack, the snow from last week appears to be acting as a cohesive slab. There is 3-5" of old snow at ground level. This snow has gone through some melt / freeze and is cohesive. The new snow bonded well to this layer.

There were some sloughs on steeper rollovers from snow that fell early Saturday. Terrain features such as roll overs and small drops that will be buried later in the season exist everywhere.

It looks like full on winter up high, but beware of numerous shark fins lurking just below the surface.