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 Post subject: Roundtop, 5/7/06
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 2:27 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:41 pm
Posts: 1622
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
After modifying my Burton to use the Voile system, I needed to give it a test drive to make sure it didn't fall apart. I was also itching to get out since I hadn't been on snow in over a month. I figured that Roundtop would be a good testing ground, because:
  • It has a nice quick approach
  • There is a good variety of terrain
  • If the board fell apart I wouldn't be stuck out in the middle of nowhere, and there would probably be hordes of other people
  • It's at pretty high elevation for Tahoe standards
  • At "only" 4 hours away it was pretty much the closest call for a day trip

I made a half-assed attempt to find a partner, but in the end I wasn't too disappointed about going solo. I figured I would be playing around with the interface anyway, and I didn't want to slow anyone down. Plus I was pretty sure that there would be plenty of people there anyway. After about 3 hours of sleep (doh!) I headed out of SC around 5:30 AM, and made an alpine start at the trailhead around 10 AM. In the parking lot I ran into wavy from the forum and a buddy of his, and also Sherpa1 from ttips. I headed out toward the lake and made pretty good time. The modified board seemed to be working fine in split mode. I also tested out the Burton crampons, and they worked great. So far so good.

Here's the first good view of Roundtop and the aptly-named Moon Crescent couloir as I was approaching the lake. This is insanely good coverage for this time of the year. Hard to see in this photo, but there are also some slide debris in the bowl.

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After passing the lake, I switched to board mode and made about 5 turns down a short hill. The board felt pretty good. Slightly different from before, but I thought that might just be due to the first corn snow I've been on this season. So I figured I would continue on up into the bowl. As I entered the bowl, I ran in Sherpa1 again as he descended the bowl. Looked like nice corn in the bowl. Then we looked up and saw a guy standing at the top of the couloir. You can barely see the guy at the top in this pic, and his buddy standing in the debris runout. The debris appeared to be a combination of cornice drops and some wet sluffs from previous days. You can also see the huge coverage here. There are tracks all the way down both the main hanging snowfield (with an escape just before the cliff at the bottom) and the "usually hanging" snowfield between the main crescent and the couloir to lookers left of it. I don't think I've ever been up there when that's been filled in.

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We saw the skiier descend, and it looked like the snow was pretty soft as he was sending down a lot of sluff. We caught up with him at the bottom, and he said that the skiing wasn't great up high, but OK down low. So we figured what the hell, we'd give it a shot. One nice thing about climbing this chute is that if you decide on the way up that things aren't looking good, you can hike down the ridge climber's right of the top of the chute and take a mellower route. So we started heading up.

Me

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Sherpa1

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About halfway up the chute, Sherpa1's pager started going off like an alarm. Apparently he was on call. Neither of us had cell coverage, so he had to descend at that point and get back to the car. Doh! The snow seemed a little soft on his descent, but manageable.

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I decided to keep going.

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I love this view, near the top, with the hanging snowfield slicing through the scene.

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The chute ranges from 45 to maybe just over 50 degrees at the top. The last 50 feet or so are a little sketchy and definitely gets the adrenaline going. On the way up, I was taking note of the snow conditions. Basically, the climbers left side was too hard because it was only recently out of the shade, and the climbers right side was really soft. In the upper 50 feet, the climbers right side was very rotten and I could push my pole really far in. So I was a little sketched dropping in from the top. I made a turn on the hanging snowfield and traversed into the main chute. In this rotten section I didn't feel comfortable doing hard turns or jumping. Also, I had noticed the board feeling a little different on heelside turns earlier, maybe because in addition to the overall conversion, I had moved the bindings just slightly closer to the heelside edge. Damn, too many changes at once! So, I ended up doing some toeside zigzag sideslips up on about the top 3rd. Not pretty, but it got me down in one piece. Even doing that was sending down a lot of sluff. Just about where Sherpa1 started down, I started making some real turns as the snow improved a bit. Once out of the chute, the corn was great in the bowl and down to the lake.

Here are some views on the way out. The east ridge has some crazy skinny chutes, and they are pretty filled in this year.

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These guys are looking pretty fat too.

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It would be nice if the weather were being a bit more conducive to taking advantage of this huge coverage! View of the damage on the way out.

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Gtatuitous pano

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On the drive out I pulled over (thankfully not into a hole like SanFrantastico! :shock:) and took this shot of some possibilities off the NW face, that I don't think are usually this filled in either.

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All in all, it was a great day. The board performed well, and I figure if it made it down that it's probably not going to fall apart. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 6:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:57 pm
Posts: 4966
Location: California
You love that line dontcha jim? :)

I gotta get it someday..........so many mtns/lines and so little time.


Glad the board mod is working out too. 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 10:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 4:48 pm
Posts: 215
Location: N. Vancouver <=> Santa Cruz
Good job Jim! I was wondering if you were going to put a TR up, was really curious to hear the details of the rest of your day, thanks! I'll get that line next time :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 3:58 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:41 pm
Posts: 1622
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Yeah bcr, you know I love that line! :) I have a soft spot for that area because it was the first place where I went on a bonafide bc splitboard trip (and I wasn't paying someone to keep me from being dumb). Plus it's easy access for my lazy butt. In fact, I love that place so much I drove up there again this past weekend just to take another gratuitous pano:

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Just kidding. :) I was passing through on my way to take another gratuitous pano here:

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More on that later. :)

wavy, we gotta hook up a Santa Cruz splitfest sometime! :)

I need to have at least 5 smilies in this post! :)


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