Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mt Allen to Coldwater Canyon

Feb 15, 2013: What a fine, sunny day to be in the mountains! We caught a late Mt Allen Tram, and hiked to the top. Great views today:
 Nick and Ben Lomond

The top of the Banana chute was hard windblown, not to mention rocky. Here's a some cuts in the main Banana entrance from Feb 3, 2013.
We figured on dropping into a nice shot, then hiking back up to the Wizard rock. 

Excellent powder, much better than the wind hammered terrain up higher.

The traverse is deep in the forest. 

My boot trail from earlier in the week was blown in; didn't find it. We ended up at another interesting rock in the forest: 

A pit below this rock looked more stable than pits I have seen earlier this season.

There was a somewhat weaker layer a foot and a half down, but no huge layer of weak facets deep in the snowpack.
We cut over to the chute to our right to have a look. This is the Wicked Witch. Here is a view looking down the chute, showing the long forested exit to the road.
I cut tree to tree along a breakover on the left, with nothing moving. Sweet! Nick dropped into an entrance with a rocky choke.

 This area has quite a few cliff hazards. The forest can make it challenging to figure out exactly where you are at times.
 Lots of sweet untouched terrain. If you drop in this far you are committed to a long, tight forest exit, or a big hike out.
 Another quick pit at about 7500 feet was barely 3 feet deep, with some crusts evident, but mostly settled denser snow.

 Some lumpy old avi debris under the newer snow was evident down in the runout.
 The forest runout has a lot of brushy challenging tight trees, for a mile. This is the price you pay, for all those great turns.
 Made it to Smokey Bear!

 This Smokey Bear shot is one that can impact the bottom of the hiking trail, in a big storm cycle.
 Waiting for the shuttle, I dug a couple pits in the north-facing riverbank snowpack. Some rain crusts in there, wet snow this afternoon.

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