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Old 03-01-2010, 03:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default TR: Vail Pass 2-27-2010

So Colorado has finally gotten into the storm cycle. Quietly over the last 3-4 weeks we have been approaching 100" of snow in the Central and Northern mountains. In the Colorado drips and drabs fashion 2-6" at a time, close to every day or every two days. So when you keep putting fluff on top of fluff it adds up. Time to revisit Black Lakes ridge at Vail Pass.

Last time we went back there, the ridge was super tender. The convexity and amount of recent snow made it hair trigger. I easily set off a slide testing the slope.

Needless to say that was a short day. Low light conditions, high avy danger, led to us staying lower down on the ridge and bailing out pretty early. Sometimes you just go for a 4 mile hike with not many benefits.

This time around the four mile hike was worth it.

The players:

Killclimbz... (photo by Mike Bean)

Cody (photo by Mike Bean)

Chris (photo by Mike Bean)

Lauren (photo by Mike Bean)

and Mike.


Being wary of the ridge from my experience there three weeks prior we did some digging around to check out the snow pack.

Chris setting up an extended column test.

We got a failure at the 7th strike from the elbow, no propagation. The first foot or so of snow is what failed. A yellow flag, but not terrible. The problem was that the remaining snow also broke at a 7th strike from the elbow. It also propagated all the way across. This was about a 4ft block of snow.
Not a good sign, if you managed to get the snow to step down it could rip big.
Here is a shot of the faceted layer that has been plaguing the bottom of our snow pack all season.

This is an area that is prone to slides but they don't have the space to run far.
A full burial is not extremely likely, but being carried over a cliff and into trees is. So we decided to play the manage your terrain game. We stayed out of the areas with the biggest consequences and ended up having a great day.

Pillow(Photo by Mike Bean)


Cont...

Last edited by killclimbz; 03-01-2010 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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and pow.(Photo by Mike Bean)

Another pillow

and still more pow.

Pillow

Pow

Pillow (photo by Mike Bean)

Pow.(photo by Mike Bean)

Pillow(photo by Mike Bean)

Pow.(photo by Mike Bean)

Cont...

Last edited by killclimbz; 03-01-2010 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Pillow (Photo by Mike Bean)

Front hand spring!(Photos by Mike Bean)


Cody (him sticking a landing off of a pillow actually) (Photo by Mike Bean)

How much pow?

(Photo by Mike Bean)

Is too much?

I love this spot, it's just a mini golf course.

It was a great day with bottomless untracked pow.
Ciao for now...

Last edited by killclimbz; 03-01-2010 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Nice man, those lil pillow lines/cliffs look sooooooo fun. I'm gonna have to hit up the colorado bc some time in the next few winters, got a few free couches to kip on.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Bring your split and we'll get you out there.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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sweet as mate, will hit you up if i make it out there
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hello! Nice to meet you.
I am one going back to vail next month towards the end of the season.
I was there around mid feb when it started to getting good amount of snow.
Do you guys live there now?
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Pretty fat at Vail Pass, which is just East of the ski area. The reports that I have been getting is that conditions are just fine at Vail. Most of the storms rolling through these days seem to favor the Vail/Winterpark zone. Summit county for whatever reason this year seems to have a big deflector shield around it...
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post
Pretty fat at Vail Pass, which is just East of the ski area. The reports that I have been getting is that conditions are just fine at Vail. Most of the storms rolling through these days seem to favor the Vail/Winterpark zone. Summit county for whatever reason this year seems to have a big deflector shield around it...
Yeah Summit county has been hurting for snow compared to typical season, but is still better than a lot of places. Don't have that problem on the Western Slope though. 11" powderday this last weekend. Made for an awesome bluebird powderday Saturday.
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