Thursday, December 22, 2011

12-22-2011 First day of winter, first bail of winter - Suicide Chute

Andy and I decided to get out on this first day of winter.  We figured Suicide Chute might be a reasonably safe place to be so we headed up to check it out.  The apron, as expected, was still rocky.  As we turned the corner and made it into the chute proper we were greeted with interesting conditions.  It was cold, the winds were ripping, and the snow was varied.  The snowpack was more or less as follows:
    1. 3-5" of wind slab
    2. 5-6" of new snow
    3. 1-3" of hard slab
    4. 4-5" of rotten sugar
    5. Rocks, lots of them 

We also noted minor cracking on these new isolated wind drifts. To quote this morning's avy report, 

As always, avoid all slopes approaching 35 degrees or steeper with recent wind deposits. They will usually look smooth and rounded and they will crack or collapse under your weight. Many of these avalanches will gouge down to the ground so it will be a nasty, rocky ride. This bumps the consequences up far higher than you would expect with a similar sized avalanche with a deeper snowpack.

Not wanting to go for a "nasty rock ride" we bailed, only to find ourselves skinning for exercise in a ski resort again.  Oh well, patience is the name of the game for now. 
Andy entering Suicide Chute

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