Monday, April 9, 2007

Ski Conditions: Little-Middle Couloir (Apr 8)

Mr Buszowski and I headed out for a morning mission to the Little-Middle Couloir on the Three Sisters. It was a good objective for the day since pm temperatures were forecasted (and indeed were) very warm. The hike up Three Sisters Creek was done in approach shoes carrying boots and skis. The steep trees up and around the small waterfall was pretty icy and slippery (My elbow still hurts from wiping out). We put on boots and skis and started skinning where the drainage from Little/Middle Sister hits the creek. Only a few hundred meters up the drainage forks and for some reason we ended up in the right fork, some bushwhacking finally got us back left in the correct drainage. We skinned to within 50m vertical of the col between Little Sister and Middle Sister. The snow above us was hammered from pin-wheeling from the day before so ski quality would suck. It would have been nice to reach the col and see over the other side but we decided that it was better to not hang too long in the gully with the day already warming up.
Good pressed powder in the gully lead to fast recrystallized boot top snow in the bowl. In general, surprisingly good skiing. Unfortunately, that all changed at around 2000m where things got nasty. A thin unsupportable sun / temperature crust made for difficult skiing in the lower drainage. Much kick-turning and side slipping ensued. It ended up being a 6 hour car-to-car journey which was not as quick as I thought it would be. Most of the time got sucked up hiking and bushwhacking. Total ascent / descent on skis was 800m with only half of that being good quality. A great backdoor adventure nonetheless.
Weather: Clear, sunny skies with the temperature at 10am being +4 C (at 2050m). Wind was calm. by the time we reached the car at 1pm the temperature was pushing +15C

Snowpack: A variety of snow surfaces ranging from recrystallized facets to a thin unsupportable sun / temperature crust. In the trees around 200m we found moist bottomless mash potatoes. In the gully itself, the snow pack is thin with lots of rocks poking through on the edges.
Avalanche Activity: None observed but large pinwheels from yesterday's warm temperatures.

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