March 12, 2011

Shut Down - Left with Pineapple Pass

With our shortened weekend (working on weekends should be forbidden), we decided to check out Snoqualmie Pass.  It wasn't more then 10 minutes into the approach climb to source lake basin under Chair Peak, that plan B was put into motion.  Mother nature decided to be on our side and started throwing up red flags left and right.  Visibility sucked as yet another front had arrived a tad earlier then expected, thankfully with the low vis we were still able to note natural slide activity on most aspects, and at lower elevation.
Note the crown

 We crossed countless av debris piles from the previous days warming.  Most of the slides appeared to originate from near rock outcroppings, which makes sense giving Fridays clear skies and warm temps.  Most of the slides involved what appeared to be 12" plus crowns, probably near a hoar frost layer that presumably formed sometime last weekend during some very cold clear nights.  Then almost every day last week came a series of fronts crossing the Northwest causing periods of strong winds and snowfall. Temperatures had generally been warming preceding the fronts and cooling following the fronts.

Not visible on the pic, but top center in the clearing with larger trees on either side is another large crown.  This area was going to be crossed as part of plan A
 Plan B: Included a tour upto Pineapple Pass and the Tooth.  Followed by a long shot down to Denny Creek.  After a climb back to Pineapple Pass, we tried to enjoy the near perfect from the pass, however visibility was well....ZERO, resulting in what felt like DRUNKEN snowboarding.  It was borderline comical, we ate $H!T countless times thanks to the vertigo and the inability to see ANYTHING.     

Pineapple pass with the tooth visible as the sharp formation lookers right of the pass
blue are actual GPS tracks
The tooth and Pineapple pass
The tooth as seen from top of Pineapple Pass
K enjoying the improved visibility provided among the trees