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 Post subject: Re: SW Montana Conditions 2011/2012
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:05 pm 
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We got one of the last powder days of the year at the Bell Lake Yurt this weekend. 10+ inches of fresh. Unfortunately wind loading and lots of natural sluffs kept us off of the steeper lines but the trees (Beetlejuice) were great until it got too warm. The new snow was NOT bonding to the sunbaked surface of the old snow and we were creating small wet slides on our last run. All in all it was a great trip but more due to the great food and conversations rather than epic riding.


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 Post subject: Re: SW Montana Conditions 2011/2012
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:57 pm 
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Location: The Magic City
That sounds really nice! How was stability overall? Dig any pits? Depth hoar? I've been hankering to get into the T Roots some time soon.
Get any photos?

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 Post subject: Re: SW Montana Conditions 2011/2012
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:45 am
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Location: Bozeman, MT
Awesome to hear!

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 Post subject: Re: SW Montana Conditions 2011/2012
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:42 pm 
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nickstayner wrote:
That sounds really nice! How was stability overall? Dig any pits? Depth hoar? I've been hankering to get into the T Roots some time soon.
Get any photos?


We didn't dig any pits since we already decided to avoid steep lines (due to the obvious windloading and by the way the new snow was sliding off of the old surface on skin track switchbacks. There were also 3 wives to keep happy). Under those circumstances, and racing against the sun, we felt digging a pit would be a waste of time. An entry in the log book said that conditions were "generally stable, ECT12 Q2". They didn't mention anything about the slope angle or aspect. The yurt operator said that the snowpack there is more like the Hyalites and less like the Bridgers but that there is an old ice crust about 4' down. He didn't really say anything about whether or not depth hoar has been an issue.

The main thing is that the new snow had NOT yet bonded at all to the old. There were new sloughs (big ones) seen all throughout the day Saturday and one crown further south in Thompson Basin. That old snow surface was rock solid based on my attempts to shove a pole through it (never was able to, anywhere, all day). It would have been crappy dust on crust skiing if less snow had fell during the storm.

Photos? I wish. Wifey carried the camera and lets just say her idea of an interesting photo is different than mine. Then again, I hate fussing with cameras and often tend to not take photos at all.


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 Post subject: Re: SW Montana Conditions 2011/2012
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:07 pm 
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Location: The Magic City
Skied in the A/B near Emigrant on Saturday. Things were locked up below some new/windblown new snow. We didn't dig, but it was a good sign indicating that things have gone through at least enough of a melt/freeze to allow safe timely ascent and descent. Timing is everything this time of year.
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 Post subject: Re: SW Montana Conditions 2011/2012
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:17 am 
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nickstayner wrote:
Timing is everything this time of year.


Indeed. We made an attempt at the southeast coulour of Emigrant Peak on Saturday. The school bus-sized cornice, rock fall, and quickly deteriorating snow conditions turned us around at an elevation about midway up the coulour. We skied/rode the shoulder to the north of the couly, traversed into the bottom 1/4 of couly, and had a really fun ride for quite a distance. But then the snow got so grabby that it wasn't much fun at all. ALL north facing terrain was covered with pinwheel debris as was the gut of the coulour. South facing stuff hadn't pinwheeled naturally but we were getting big balls to form when we would travers that aspect.

Finished up the day helping administer first-aid after one of the tele-skiers got a bit greedy near the snow line resulting in a cartwheel through Big Sky-esque sharp and pointy rocks. Control bleeding, monitor for shock, split up his load for the hike back to car. 3 stitches in a forearm puncture wound and assorted scrapes treated back in town. It would have been bad if he wasn't wearing a helmet - which has me rethinking my practice of usually leaving mine behind on BC days.

It was beautiful though. I'll try to remember to post a pic or two later on when I get off of work.


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 Post subject: Re: SW Montana Conditions 2011/2012
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:17 pm 
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Location: The Magic City
Yikes! What time of day were you guys up there? Also would love to see pics!

Also, rode in the East Rosebud region of the Beartooths (posted a TR with specific conditions in it). Where I rode had fully metamorphosed into a true spring/summer snowpack, but that range is so huge and diverse that it's hard to extrapolate what that means from there.

Anyone been into the Missions recently?

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 Post subject: Re: SW Montana Conditions 2011/2012
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:17 pm 
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nickstayner wrote:
What time of day were you guys up there?


We left the truck at 7:45 (did you guys have the same rock slide blocking the road when you were there?) and got back at 2:30. Here's a couple pics, sorry if the panaramic format screws up the page layout.

Great view from our turnaround point
Image

Nice shot of a skier
Image

If you squint real hard you can see me descending and 3 guys waiting at the bottom. Also notice the pinwheeling along the north face of the opposite ridge.
Image

Another cool pano
Image

Here's the chute that we chickened out of. It will be there next time.
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 Post subject: Re: SW Montana Conditions 2011/2012
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:26 pm 
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Nice pics! No rockslide blocking the road when we were there... whereabouts on the road is it?
That line sees a TON of sun. It probably hadn't frozen the night before either, do you think?
IMO, when temps are forecasted to get hot, 9AM is probably about the time you want to be descending that thing. I had a similar experience to you guys last year in the SE Couloir last year, except we were too stupid to turn around.
First turn off the summit into the top of the couloir triggered a huge creeper wet slide that entrained a TON of snow and washed out the entire couloir.
That pinwheeling is funny, far from what we saw two weekends ago. Our tracks are totally gone though, so must've seen some new snow last week.

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 Post subject: Re: SW Montana Conditions 2011/2012
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:35 pm 
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Yeah, I hinted that we should leave Bozy ridiculously early but it wasn't my trip to plan and the the others got some bad weather info (expected it to be colder). I've never been there before so I was just stoked to sight-see. I agree, 9am descent would have been best but we didn't think that the chute (or anything else) had froze at night anyway. The rock slide was about a mile (?) up from the big culvert where you cross the creek, I wasn't really paying attention though. We could tell that the slide was recent based on (probably your) old tire tracks in the snow on the other side of it. We had to park at a point where someone had been camping with a campfire on the north side of the road - if that's any landmark at all.


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 Post subject: Re: SW Montana Conditions 2011/2012
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:54 pm 
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Location: Missoula, MT
So.... the Missions..

I was watching the weather all week, hoping for a window. It was going to be mostly sunny Saturday and near freezing Thurs and Friday night earlier in the week. Forecast got worse as the week wore on...

Partner and I left Missoula at 1:30 AM and left the truck headed straight uphill at 3:30 in a light rain. It was warm.. If you haven't hiked in the Missions, its steep. Started hiking at the lake and made pretty good progress for an hour. Started to post hole and navigate downfall for about 45 minutes after that. All of this area is on the Flathead reservation, so trails are none existent and switchbacks found nowhere.

It started to get light and we time checked our progess at 5:45. We still had about 3.5 hours of hiking and 2500 feet to get to the top of the ridge, and then had to ride the bottom of the couloir yet. The snow wasn't solid enough to warrant skinning and we still had an hour of post-hole-tree-dodging before we would see solid snow. It was still raining, so we decided to save our resources and officially confirmed today was not the day.

We left the trailhead for home at 8 a.m. The ridge and peaks were socked in, still raining. Went home and slept till 2pm, and woke up to a gorgeous day in Missoula.... :nononno: The weather forecast says rain till Thursday this week, then Lows in the mid 20's and a high of mid 20's Friday. I think we are 'stupid' enough to maybe give it another go. :scratch: :thumpsup: Overall, snowline has receded heavily at low elevations in the Missions. I believe the snowpack up high is still solid and plentiful, but its either been raining or sunny and super hot the last 2 months so it is full of moisture and disappearing quickly.


I usually bring out the last part as a verbal reminder when hiking in the Missions :lol: ~
From Summitpost: The difference lies easily between innocent and simple-looking lines on a map (in this land of amazing mountains), an area where during the summer no human may go (there will be neither grisly human nor human/grizzly interaction), and trails are steep and without switchbacks (animals don't zigzag up mountains)—and are, anyway, only sometimes cleared of deadfall and rubble (this is not managed wilderness travel: you are on your own)—if you choose this wild and uncivilized place (of very few posted signs) it is because you want to.


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 Post subject: Re: SW Montana Conditions 2011/2012
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:14 pm 
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Brett, thanks for that! Super enjoyable read. Rain can be pretty demoralizing. I have heard that approach is absolutely heinous, though I still want to give that thing a try this year. I agree with what you said about it being something to attempt earlier in the season- I have heard from a person who skied it in June a few years back that it was severely runneled.
splitlips- That's crazy about the rockslide. I don't drive a rig that can make it much beyond the south side of the creek anyway though, so I usually just park at the pullout by the bridge and hoof it. Kind of a paradise for the 4wheeler back in that area though... could probably still drive to snowline with the right rig (and no rockslide I guess!).
Same thing happened to us when we were there temps wise (forecasted cold and cloudy temps, turned out to be sunny and HOT).

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 Post subject: Re: SW Montana Conditions 2011/2012
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:37 am 
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Made it over to Cooke for Saturday. Found that the 4-6" new snow had insulated a nice 6-8" isothermic layer and kept it from refreezing. Wasn't moving, just made for some exciting riding conditions. Below that was uniform spring melt/freeze.
Anyone hit up the Bridgers with their epic storm?

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