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Chris Hopkins

Washington Pass conditions report

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I was up skiing yesterday Northside Blue Peak. Big winds is the story up there. My first lap we skied on the skiers left side below the ridge walls (good2go bowl) trying to find a powder seam.

All the tracks that we had made in that same Bowl two days prior were filled in with wind transported snow, so the skiing was okay.

On the second lap all the wind transported snow in that same Bowl had been transported somewhere else because all the old tracks from the prior two days were now visible and etched into the slope so the skiing in that area was not quite so good on the Wind hammered surface.

A friend of mine describes the conditions as "crappy", but he's been used to ripping  powder most of the winter and we are now in that Springtime snow transition period.

It's pretty clear the strong winds have been depositing wind drifts on the higher elevations terrain features creating pillows and increasing the fluting along  many of the walls. 

One notable surface wind slab Avalanche occurred yesterday on the south face of Whistler Mountain. It ripped out below the summit pyramid rock face where  the snow field starts. Fairly steep in that area and guess of crown depth would be  2 feet or less, but pretty hard to tell from  my vantage point.My guess would be something fell out of the Rock's to trigger that.

I was looking over at the "Whistler's Mother" couloir and remembering an old ski mentor who skied that gully on pin gear many years ago, in the era of leather boots.

Three days ago that gully had a wind drift across it about Midway and yesterday the line connected up.

Or maybe it was me who was being transported.:skiing:

Edited by Chris Hopkins
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Yesterday at blue peak area, north face. 6" new at 6500'  previous night. snow and sun showers with wind gusts contributing to Crossload wind slab formation and drifts in places.

Since I was solo' I avoided "Good2Go" bowl that day but still managed to find myself in one spot I didn't like. Fortunately I was able to ski a  bit of steeper wind scour to avoid skiing the adjacent wind transported snow slope.

Edited by Chris Hopkins

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observation from the nwac site for yesterday .posted here in case nwac decides to delete another significant observation.

note, this is not my nwac obs.

 I did observe the two gentleman on 4-3 picking up helicopter landing stakes from the area and climbing under the top cornice and off to the lookers left wall side where one of the gentlemen fell into a hole, at the rock wall snow interface, up to his waist after taking off  skis to Boot the rest of the pitch.

When the lead climber reached the top it appeared that he  no longer had eyes on his partner while his partner was climbing the last critical step. 

He was however under continual observation by me and my partner and we did not leave the area while that climber was exposed.

"Recreational Observation

Liberty Bowl , N.face. Climbed LaCHAPELL avy cord safe rt. Decended "Carpetbaggers Cash" run. Pro Observer spotted at Blue pk cornice and exposed 35 deg. + open snowfield approach under cornice on 4-3 , no report filed ?

April 4, 2018, 3:33 p.m. PST

Weather: Snowing , lt .wind 34 deg. increasing snow.

Snowpack: 8" soft warm snow over crust and wind affected surface . No pit diggers present.

Area Description: Hwy 20 , NCH , Washington Pass.

Avalanches: Natural release off E. face above Blue lake creek . D2 / D3 / R1 and many falling blocks of cornice chunks and ice reaching road from all L.B. chutes and some Cuthroat Chutes.

Observation by Huggin ,Munnin and Yehl

Latitude: 48.508276

Longitude: -120.658421

Did you see any avalanches?Yes

Did you trigger any avalanches? No

Was anyone caught in an Avalanche? No

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So nwac contacted the. 4-4 observation poster quoted above and told that person that they were going to edit the observation because they did not have a pro observer in the area. The following phrase  was edited out of observation.

"Pro Observer spotted at Blue pk cornice and exposed 35 deg. + open snowfield approach under cornice on 4-3 , no report filed ?

For me it begs the question on why nwac did not contact me when they deleted my observation that was posted on March 2nd concerning two significant Avalanches that I observed on March 1st. 

Those two natural release avalanches that I observed were an indication of weak bonding strength between the new snow and the old snow, one of which had a start Zone on a wind loaded Ridge and ran 800 vert feet. I had also reported that we came across fresh skier  tracks in the vicinity of the very fresh debris pile and did a quick transceiver search just to be sure.

Two days after my observation was posted and then pulled from the nwac site (I believe on March 3rd) we suffered our very first BC skier Avalanche related fatality in my home area on the east side of the North Cascade crest.(east of rainy pass)

Although I contacted nwac for an explanation on why they deleted my observation, I never received an email back from them. My observation included my email address and my phone number.

And remember the reason why my posts and threads  over the last 7 years at TAY were deleted was because of nwac member pressure.

http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=40285.25


Posts: 227


WWW
Re: helli ski info
« Reply #38 on: 03/24/18, 04:09 PM »
 

I’ll try adding some more detail than I did i my last post. Marcus messaged me privately about HFNC / Freeski on March 8th. I asked him about deleting topics and posts as a simple question and he just went ahead and did it point blank. I realize that Marcus should not have been involved in the first place, but it seems that NWAC members reached out to him rather than Micah or myself. This is not putting blame on Marcus, Freeski should have just been banned temporarily or permanently. Many of his posts contain valuable discussions, even if sometimes extremely controversial.
 
 

Nwac remains silent on this issue.

Edited by Chris Hopkins

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@Chris Hopkins I'll be fairly blunt while you are welcome to post conditions here this continued vendetta you have with NWAC and TAY is not. The thing with TAY is between you and them. It doesn't serve any purpose here, it's mostly conjecture. If you feel this information is important for others to read you can go start a blog on Blogspot or WordPress.com.

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13 minutes ago, jon said:

@Chris Hopkins I'll be fairly blunt while you are welcome to post conditions here this continued vendetta you have with NWAC and TAY is not. The thing with TAY is between you and them. It doesn't serve any purpose here, it's mostly conjecture. If you feel this information is important for others to read you can go start a blog on Blogspot or WordPress.com.

thank you Jon.  I appreciate the work that NWAC does.

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3 hours ago, jon said:

@Chris Hopkins I'll be fairly blunt while you are welcome to post conditions here this continued vendetta you have with NWAC and TAY is not. The thing with TAY is between you and them. It doesn't serve any purpose here, it's mostly conjecture. If you feel this information is important for others to read you can go start a blog on Blogspot or WordPress.com.

Thanks Jon.

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10 hours ago, jon said:

@Chris Hopkins I'll be fairly blunt while you are welcome to post conditions here this continued vendetta you have with NWAC and TAY is not. The thing with TAY is between you and them. It doesn't serve any purpose here, it's mostly conjecture. If you feel this information is important for others to read you can go start a blog on Blogspot or WordPress.com.

I'm new here Jon, should I have placed this  factual information  that concerns Public Safety in the "spray" Zone instead. 

But I am interested in your argument on how you believe that what I'm talking about is as you say "conjecture". Could you be more specific?

 

Because it seems like when you accuse someone of a continued Vendetta, that sounds like conjecture and leans towards a personal attack.  Maybe it would have been better to contact me via a personal message concerning this?

I'm very open to civil discussions and debate, however that doesn't seem to be the norm at these types of sites when it concerns controversial  Public Safety issues.

I was pretty specific when I first started posting here that cc would be harboring a Divergent point of view. For some reason I thought your site was different and was open to intelligent debate. Am I wrong? 

From the TAY site owner.

"Many of his posts contain valuable discussions, even if sometimes extremely controversial."

 

 

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Jon, I reread my posts and no where do I see anything that could be construed as a vendetta against TAY or nwac.

I quoted that TAY thread because it was actually very complementary of my TAY thread writing and pointed to a fact, by the Tay owner himself, that NWAC members were pressuring Tay concerning my writing.

All I see is factual informational reporting concerning observations from the Washington Pass area.

 I also threw in a situational awareness tip, like keeping an eye out for other people in the backcountry when they aren't keeping an eye out for each other.

Perhaps those that see Vendetta in my writing are coming to my threads with prejudice?

 

Edited by Chris Hopkins

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And here is a  email response from nwac to that observation poster concerning the observation that I'm talking about in the above posts. While I never found this policy statement on their web site concerning the recreational observation page, I think it should clarify what the intent of the page is.

 I'm also happy to see that nwac is open to " debate and criticism when it's offered in a civil manor". That is after all the intent behind my writing. To have an open, honest discussion free from personal attack  on how the system can better serve Public Safety and become inclusive of all points of view.

"This page is
> intended for the sharing of snowpack, weather, and avalanche observations,
> and not for use as a forum regarding NWAC, its staff, its industry
> partnerships, or its products.
>
> That said, we welcome debate and criticism when it is offered in a civil
> manner. Although we don't currently have a dedicated forum for public input...."

 

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19 hours ago, Chris Hopkins said:

I'm new here Jon, should I have placed this  factual information  that concerns Public Safety in the "spray" Zone instead. 

But I am interested in your argument on how you believe that what I'm talking about is as you say "conjecture". Could you be more specific?

 

Because it seems like when you accuse someone of a continued Vendetta, that sounds like conjecture and leans towards a personal attack.  Maybe it would have been better to contact me via a personal message concerning this?

I'm very open to civil discussions and debate, however that doesn't seem to be the norm at these types of sites when it concerns controversial  Public Safety issues.

I was pretty specific when I first started posting here that cc would be harboring a Divergent point of view. For some reason I thought your site was different and was open to intelligent debate. Am I wrong? 

From the TAY site owner.

"Many of his posts contain valuable discussions, even if sometimes extremely controversial."

 

 

Mods. Please move this to spray. :)

Chris.  For your own well being, you need to drop whatever beef you have with anyone else.  This ongoing tension you have and inablility to drop it and move forward is only going to reduce your overall life expectancy.  Chill.  Relax.  Have fun.  Live.  

This is is a free site.  You are not privileged to say whatever you want   The owners can say and do whatever they want cause they own it.  Not you and not me.  There is no freedom of speech here but only the graces allowed to us by the owners.  The administrator has spoken and it would be well advised to take heed of what was asked of you.

This is a community site.  People have varied experiences and generally act well to one another.  So far as I have seen though, you are a one trick pony whose only contribution is this constant attack on NWAC and TAY.  There has to be more to you than this.  Share the other parts of your life and make some friends here.  When you are hanging out with your friends, do you bombard them with this NWAC conspiracy thing?  I doubt it.  Share some good photos.  Tell inspiring stories.  Let us live vicariously through your adventures.

and if you can’t stop, there have been others who did not listen and were removed.  Do not be surprised.  This is not a conspiracy spreading website.

peace!

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14 hours ago, genepires said:

Mods. Please move this to spray. :)

Chris.  For your own well being, you need to drop whatever beef you have with anyone else.  This ongoing tension you have and inablility to drop it and move forward is only going to reduce your overall life expectancy.  Chill.  Relax.  Have fun.  Live.  

This is is a free site.  You are not privileged to say whatever you want   The owners can say and do whatever they want cause they own it.  Not you and not me.  There is no freedom of speech here but only the graces allowed to us by the owners.  The administrator has spoken and it would be well advised to take heed of what was asked of you.

This is a community site.  People have varied experiences and generally act well to one another.  So far as I have seen though, you are a one trick pony whose only contribution is this constant attack on NWAC and TAY.  There has to be more to you than this.  Share the other parts of your life and make some friends here.  When you are hanging out with your friends, do you bombard them with this NWAC conspiracy thing?  I doubt it.  Share some good photos.  Tell inspiring stories.  Let us live vicariously through your adventures.

and if you can’t stop, there have been others who did not listen and were removed.  Do not be surprised.  This is not a conspiracy spreading website.

peace!

Dude I'm glad you feel it's not a conspiracy spreading website cuz I'm not spreading conspiracy ideals. But perhaps you should take a look in the mirror and see the ideals you are sharing here.

Nwac seems to be open to intelligent civil debate, why aren't you, especially when that debate concerns Public Safety.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://m.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DqLvGnro4Cgw&ved=2ahUKEwiLqpel9araAhXm6IMKHd03DVwQtwIwAHoECAcQAQ&usg=AOvVaw2vD7cmrd5D5qnPWvsU1xOk

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking

"Researchers assessing critical thinking in online discussion forums often employ a technique called Content Analysis,[36][35] where the text of online discourse (or the transcription of face-to-face discourse) is systematically coded for different kinds of statements relating to critical thinking. For example, a statement might be coded as “Discuss ambiguities to clear them up” or “Welcoming outside knowledge” as positive indicators of critical thinking. Conversely, statements reflecting poor critical thinking may be labeled as “Sticking to prejudice or assumptions” or “Squashing attempts to bring in outside knowledge.” 

Edited by Chris Hopkins

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Apparently NWAC and the TAY website either don't welcome or downgrade your opinions and or observations.

NWAC is a joint effort between the USFS Avalanche Center and the non profit NWAC.  While anyone can submit observations, NWAC forecasters get to make the call on the amount of information publicly provided.  Sometimes that means making a judgement on when there is sufficient or too much information.

If you feel they are ignoring vital information you can keep plugging or file a complaint.  NWAC is a member of the American Avalanche Association and the National Avalanche Center.  Those are the organizations you can contact.  In addition NWAC files all governing documents and tax returns.  These are available for public review.

TAY is a private website.  Public/member input is encouraged, but if enough site users dislike how you express yourself online, the site owner or moderators can ban or block you.  The only alternative left is starting your own blog or going to a similar website and expressing your views there.

Cascade Climbers is a good way to meet and talk to others who may have similar interests.  On the other hand it isn't the best place if your primary interest is expressing complaints about other websites or organizations.

You can post trip reports and add condition observations here...

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Headed up to hairpin today.mank on road, getting warm, recent large slide in cutthroat slide path and several smaller ones,rain, new snow in trees about a hundred vert feet above hair pin. Talked to two skiers that turned around at the Cutthroat trailhead and they heard several Avalanches coming down.

I saw a nice Avalanche coming down on the east face side of the big rock buttressed Ridge Lookers right from hwy 20 of SilverStar Creek. So beautiful,  waterfall.

Some of the Native Washingtonian mank skiers went up to first bowl in cutthroat.

And we turned around. Forgot to bring mank wax.

 

Edited by Chris Hopkins

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1 hour ago, genepires said:

How far up the hwy can you drive?  Never been over there in the winter.

From the eastside right now the road is open to the Silver Star Gate. However that means access to Silver Star Mountain.

WSDOT starts plowing the highway from the east  this Monday the 9th. They work Monday through Thursday and request that no one use the highway past the Silver Star gate during working days. We used to have access during those working days for many years. It may have been that people were getting too close to the working crews and creating a hazardous situation, hence the loss of privilege.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday the hwy can be used  and many people use the highway for bicycle riding. No licensed Motor Vehicles of course.

 It's important to remember that many Avalanche slide paths cross Highway 20. It's very possible for an avalanche to come down that wasn't there on the ride up, so be prepared to have to climb over an avalanche debris pile.(I've had to do that)

 And of course proper safety protocols need to be observed while in Avy terrain. Not a good idea to have lunch under a slide path for example.

Look up the path as you cross, if your decision is to proceed.

Watch out for rain events and nights that do not freeze.  Also it can stay above freezing at altitude but be frozen on the highway so it's advisable to check the Washington Pass telemetry for the 6680' temps.

And in the morning or late day there can be ice on the highway from the melt freeze cycles.

Typically to access the skiing past the gate, I'll put skis on my mountain bicycle and head up.

 

Edited by Chris Hopkins

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in the depths of winter,  can you usually get to the silver star gate or do they close a gate farther down the road like at early winters CG?  I know some people snomo around in winter to get access.

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I think TGR would be a great place for you to shed your NWAC angst and tell the real story

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2 hours ago, num1mc said:

I think TGR would be a great place for you to shed your NWAC angst and tell the real story

I consider TGR to be one of the worst commercialism slimpool sport related internet forums out there.

When I present these issues here in my home state at online forum sites, my hope is for intelligent debate of the particular  issue that I am presenting.  However because these issues can be controversial I tend to get a lot of "Kill the Messenger" type stuff. The use of the word Vendetta comes up a lot.

A lot  of the issues I present online have been brought to me by other people who know that I'm involved in public land issues and know that I'm not afraid to speak out.

I will then research that issue for facts, and then will present that issue both online and to the public managing land agency.

I never used or read  nwac for it's avalanche forecasting and barely paid attention to that organization. Their biased, inaccurate or non -reporting of industry partner related (guides trips) non injury near miss accidents was an issue that was brought to me many years ago by ski partners who follow nwac reporting.

 Then we had a guided client near miss Avalanche accident in our local area where the  two local guides were guiding outside of their permit area during a extented reactive persistent weak layer.

Prior to that accident I had posted online about that weak layer being particularly reactive in that area ("Power Cache") where the accident ultimately occurred and I even personally notified two local guides of the reactive pwl in that area prior to that accident (one of those guides is a close personal friend of mine).

When that accident occurred I wasn't going to post about it. The local guides  were getting pissed at me because I already had reported about a couple of their near-miss accidents.

Then I talked to a father who's  son had recently been killed in an avalanche accident and he encouraged me to speak out.

I checked nwac  to see  that the accident was not being reported accurately as far as location or that it was a guided client involment.

Nwac was reporting the accident as being in the Washington Pass area when in fact it was eight miles further east  where that PWL continued to be reactive.

 Because that pwl was reactive in that area to the east, many locals, including myself were skiing steep, open areas in the Washington Pass area where that layer was not reactive and had been well tested.A local guide even reported on nwac that we were skiing those lines, as in look at those crazy locals. When in fact, we were hearing  that several non publicly reported near Avalanche incidents were occurring on commercial tours at that time.

 This was the case where inaccurate reporting of an instability location jeopardized Public Safety and I believe that's important information to get out.

But many people don't want to hear that their icons are entangled to the detriment of Public Safety.

Two days after that accident occurred, I went up and took a look at the accident site and documented on tay the  exact location. The Avalanche had piled debris over the guided skin track in 4 or 5 locations.  If someone have been on the skin track following they could have been Avy hosed from above.  And because of that public safety concern, several locals, including myself, pioneered a new Ascent line that does not have any Avalanche exposure for the entire 3900 vertical foot climb to the ridge.

Many local bc skiers, I call them free ski guides, make sure to show people new to our area that safe ascent route  as well as many others in the local area.  

When we hear that the skin track has gotten off course and back into Avalanche exposure,  we will go up there and re-break that trail back into the safe Ascent route.

It's what we proudly do. Our goal  is that everyone stay safe and have fun. Party on. 

 


 

Edited by Chris Hopkins

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Here is a report from  Ed from his Sunday ski. Ed was a pro patroler for many years at Stevens Pass and one of many locals here who volunteer time freeguideing the area.

 

Ed's report.

"Wasn't good light for this panorama of west ridge of Portley on Sunday. Slide was a few days old. Looked like 2 to 3' deep crown went all the way up to the right side of the photo.  Main debris pile in that mainline run we often do directly to the basin. As I hit the steep part of my normal route up, I dug out a column about 2 1/2' to same crust and got pretty easy shear. W/ solar warming and all, I turned around and headed for Liberty Bowl.  Good turns up high, suction snow down low, both sides."

First pic is from the day of the first report (edit didn't detail this day it was the two days prior )on this thread page taken by Ed of me skiing Good2Go bowl which is skiers left side below the Ridge wall that trends west off of Blue Peak. The whole basin area is known as "Liberty Bowl". 

Second pic shows south- southeast face of Portly Basin crown and debris run.

Both areas are truly near Washington Pass.

2977.png

3104.jpeg

Edited by Chris Hopkins
Clarification of first picture

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On 4/9/2018 at 5:47 AM, genepires said:

in the depths of winter,  can you usually get to the silver star gate or do they close a gate farther down the road like at early winters CG?  I know some people snomo around in winter to get access.

Sorry I didn't see your post until now.

The WSDOT will be trying to keep the road open to SS gate all winter. There is a rumor that FS may establish a trailhead snow park at the SS parking lot.

The snowmobile congestion down by Early Winters, the typical road closure area  in winter, was creating a problem for the Property Owners there.  I don't blame them one bit as I would not want a snowmobile trailhead right outside my driveway and I use a snowmobile to access the skiing in the winter.

 

 

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