Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Williams Peak Hut Day 3

Day 3: Consisted of Route Planning through terrain and more snow observations. Another 30cm of new snow on top of an already very week layer kept us to low angle slopes. Just another day in least thats what it felt like. Deep turns and a few face shots. Stoked to be on Pow again. 

Traveling from the hut to the trail head was interesting on a snowboard as there where lots of ups and down...but managed to make it with a little one foot action. Overall a great trip and can't wait to get back up to the Williams Peak Hut for another trip or Course.  

Hoping to take this Chute style course in Late April...  Anyone want to join? 

Overnight snow!

skin up

I'll take a turn...
Ok now you go..


Chris our guide

Photo bombed 

3 days later.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Williams Peak Yurt Day 2

Part 2 of 3

Day 2:  Hut life is good.

Our day consisted of real world companion rescue situations. We broke down to our tour groups and had to do a multi-burrial rescue on 2 different slopes.  Its pretty tough navigating down hill on a Splitboard with skins on in Heavy, wet, sloppy snow.  Our group gelled great and preformed well together in both recovery efforts.  After a debrief and a quick bite to eat, it was time for a short tour to have a real evaluation of our snowpack.  

Pretty alarming snowpack with all this new heavy wet snow on top of a super weak layer.  Basically an upside down snowpack situation creates very unstable conditions widespread throughout.  I could go into details but lets just say it was dangerous. We were able to do a couple of snow pack stability test to prove our assumptions. 

 Coming in Day 3.....Powder Turns and more weak snowpack.
Morning view with some fresh heavy wet snow
Ridges are safe
Poor Visibility 
Chris our Guide
Week Layer of Concern 

Compression test
Didn't take much
Rutschblock test
RB2- Big Slab release 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Stanley/ Williams Peak Yurt Day 1

Its Been over ten years since I have taken a formal Avalanche course and it was ten too many. 

This is Part 1 of 3: 

Last week I took an AIARE Level 1 Avalanche course with Sawtooth Mountain Guides at their remote location in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. The Williams Peak Yurt is located about 5-6 miles outside of Stanley, ID at the Base of Williams Peak. It was a 3 day course with a great crew of individuals that all brought something different to offer. I can't thank our Guides Chris, Sara and Kirk enough for such an amazing course and learning environment. 

Before I get too deep into the course, let me back up to our day and night in Stanley. I had about a 3.5 plus hour drive from Mountain Home, ID to Stanley which was pretty boring until I approached Galena Summit and worked my way towards Smiley Creek and Stanley.  My buddy Collin and I spent a short night in Stanley at Jerry's Motel/ Country Store...great location right on the river.  We had a quick bite for dinner at the Mountain Village lodge and planned/ packed our gear for following day skin to Williams Peak Yurt with our class.  

The approach is a 5-6 mile skin(Hike) with about 2000ft in elevation gain.  Overall pretty mellow, but its still a 3-4 hour hike with a full load on your back.  Once at the hut we went over some companion rescue skills in the field before dinner followed by a nightly presentation.  Full day! 

Coming up in Part 2.....NEW Snow observations, Snow profiles, snowpits, a short tour and real world companion rescue situations. 

Coming down the north side of Galena Summit

Jerry's Motel View
Our friend at dinner
Checking out the area.
Early morning from Jerry's
Skin to the Yurt

Day 1 at the Williams Peak Yurt
Night Class at the Yurt