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    The last 5 out of 6 days has been a real daze. After 4 hours of sleep I’m still buzzing like a bum after a bottle(s) of Thunderbird or Night Train. I take my place among the cubicle farms to find a black monitor starring back at me. The reflection reveals one of complacency, exhaustion and what appears to be the start of a few wrinkles. Well gravity always gets things done.

    Gravity hard at work…

    Jenprince in the Crystal BC…

    Snoslut somewhere in Canuckistan…(photo by Eli3)

    Robyn in the Crystal BC…

    On December 20th and 21st I found myself touring around my usual haunt, the Crystal backcountry. Thursday I was accompanied by Stugie and Rapskallion. On Friday I was accompanied by Jcocci, Robyn and Jenprince. (Check out Jcocci’s rehash of how some of it went down)

    The backcountry had a very special feeling these two days. Not one other group touring around the area that normally sees its fair share of traffic. Was it because of work, family holiday, avalanche conditions? Whatever the reason it resembled a momentary lapse in time. No time was wasted as we slayed until my legs felt like they were going to fall off.

    People in their happy places…

    Jenprince Crystal BC…

    Jcocci in the Crystal BC…

    There was a weather window in the am during both days. The sun came out but eventually the clouds moved in and it started to snow. Thursday, while Stugie and Rapskallion were doing some snow analysis I kept doing laps, only to find that my skin track and tracks were erased by the shifting winds. I was on west to southwest facing slopes between 5,800ft and 6,800ft. I only noted a couple inches of surface slab but no major settling, whoomfing or propagating cracks. There was a feeling of snow gradually settling beneath each step, which is normal after a big dump anyways.

    Crystal BC after that big dump…

    Stugie preparing to drop into the Crystal BC…

    What I found…I dug a pit on a w/sw facing roller ~30 degrees at 6,500ft. I was able to dig 5½ft down before I hit the early December crust layer. The 5½ft of snow was sitting on top of a 3-4” layer of faceted snow that would brush out easily with you hand. Compressions and shears were not successful in getting it to release that deep from the top. Maybe an R-block might have? There were a couple of other layers worth noting. The top 4” or so was freshly falling that would sluff off easily. Temps were cold and flakes were small. Beneath, 18-24” of layered, consolidating snow that sat on top of 24-36” of consolidated snow. Compressions and shears yielded the 18-24” of layered, consolidating snow bonding well to the 24-36”. However the 24-36” of consolidated snow bonded poorly to the crust layer. As I was isolating columns that alone was enough to pop/shear that layer
    off the crust.

    Break me of a piece of that funky stuff…

    I did not continue to perform compressions and shears on the relationship between the consolidated layer and faceted layer. Stugie and Rapskallion were at the bottom waiting, storm was going from bad to ugly and moving all that snow around was work. I also noted that on our descents, there is a 30 degree’ish roller that we all came down that usual lets go but did not this time. Not crossloaded enough yet but it will be soon.


    On Friday Jcocci, Robyn, Jenprince and I all joined forces for a tactical assault of the same area. The skin track from the previous day was still in place, though partially filled or buried in some areas, especially nearing the top. The sun was out, wind was light and clouds hovered around adjacent peaks. Eventually high clouds took over with shadowed sun breaks throughout the day.

    Jcocci in the Crystal BC…

    Instead of dropping the frontside again we skin cut the back bowls, and to our amazement this lee slope appeared stable. Our first run was cautious, especially in the chute. When we all got to the bottom there were no words, just smiles and eyes wide open. I was amazed at the stability, especially after what was found the day before. The rest of the day can be summed up in the pictures below or (Jcocci’s rehash)

    Snoslut in the Crystal BC…(photos by Stugie)

    I needed a break on Saturday to gather my thoughts. Next thing I knew Eli3 had kidnapped me and when I pulled the duct tape from my eyes I was somewhere deep in the British Columbia coastal range in the province of Canuckistan, Canadia. Even though weather prevented us from clear views on our skin in, we knew that we were surrounded by gigantic chutes. After getting properly situated, a 400ft evening run in 40 degree trees was had. The minutes we gain in the days after the winter solstice didn’t help too much in getting further up the ridge. Damn breaking trail in deep powder, damn! Later on that night a storm dumped an average of 6-12” but it was hard to tell because of the blusterous winds.

    When Eli3 and I woke on Monday we were treated to this scenery.

    Some small hill in Canadia. I still had duct tape in my eyes…

    Eli3 skinning somewhere in Canuckistan with that small hill in the background…

    There were constant threats of storms and whiteouts on the upper mountain which kept us guessing on what line and where we should go next. In the end we just stuck to various glades, open slopes and chutes averaging anywhere from 25-40 degrees and 900-1200ft long. Once again we lucked out and avalanche conditions were stable, not limiting our lines. Well the glaciers were off limits. When we returned to camp for lunch there was a German man and his miniature dog that showed up. The dog would have been better off in the pack. Anyways he followed our track up and disappeared off the other side of the ridge into another valley and drainage. We continued our slaughter.

    Eli3 in the Canadia BC…(I need a better camera now.)

    Snoslut in the nuck nuck…(photo by Eli3)

    Snoslut finding a white room…(photo by Eli3)

    With snow conditions being so good and bomber I couldn’t resist going till dark. Apparently I wasn’t the only one either. Minutes after I returned to camp, Zenom and Pam showed up. I haven’t seen them since TAY-Fest back in 2005. I was stoked to see someone else from Washington so far north and inland. How random and what are the chances I thought. Monday night was spent getting reacquainted.

    Tuesday came early and Zenom, Eli3 and myself found ourselves skinning at dark o’clock. A near full moon and clearer skies made travel easier. Pam was smart and slept in a bit. Zenom had a pretty good lay of the land from a previous trip so he led Eli3 and I through bonk, wind scoured powder to the land of deep powder gullies. Slopes were lee and the terrain sheltered us from the winds and spitting snow a ridge and valley over. Once again I was amazed at how stable avalanche conditions were. After 3 laps a king and queen could hang their crown on, Eli3 and I were spent and crawled back to camp to pack up. I was amazed at how big the lines are back here. I will return. I now have restless leg syndrome to complement the joint aches in my knees.

    Zenom breaking trail to some lee slope goods…

    Zenom half way down with a whole lot of line left…

    A white monster chasing Eli3…

    A few more parting pics…

    Random gully line = slayed.

    Snoslut…(photo by Eli3)




    Wow! Looks like that was a sick trip for sure. The photography is surperbly done and should be sent to some mags for publication.

    Registered User

    Great TR, AMAZING PICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!………..


    fack dude. Nicely done.


    Damn, you are my hero.

    THanks for the stoke, i’m motivated now for sure. Looks like this weekend is gonna dump hard.



    Here are some more photos from Crystal on 12/21.

    Another Snoslut sequence:

    Snoslut and Robyn



    OK, enough Snoslut shots.


    Fantastic sets of shots from snoslut and jcocci the snow on this part of the planet is piling up for sure.


    I just spittled all over my monitor. Good lord that’s a hot trip report!!


    Looks like a hell of great outings!


    Good work slut, thats getting after it for damn sure. I keep waiting to wake up from this PNW POW POW dream I’m having….no end in sight, Now I just need TIME…


    Probably the best stoke of the whole season right here. Thank you so much for kicking down. Now I just need to get further west for some of that goodness.



    Looks like a blur.

    Puff Nattie

    Breath taking pics! Nice GIANT sprays of pow. ouuuuu. I’m so jealous. Keep bringing us these inspirational TR’s. …by the way, where is IAOFM? Hucking at the resorts? :thatrocks:


    ah-ha! –so thats why you didnt come up to baker jcocci…i guess its good down there in the Crystal area though 😉


    Yes, that and its been great at Stevens as well.


    WOW!!! What the F am i doing at work!!??

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