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WA Ice Conditions 2020-21


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Misters Hutchinson & JasonG - thankyou so much for your gracious assistance!  we dinosaurs are grateful for any help we can get!  escaped from the old-folks-home again today, didn't even have to fire up my texas snowblower (two thirtyish sons wielding full-size steel grain scoops).

Most of last week's promising roadside ass in both Tumwater & Assicle canyons is somewhere around tri-cities about now. - the exception being dog-nasty-dike on dog dome, which appears to have survived the chinook.  lets hope it lasts until the water level drops sufficiently to bridge the Assicle.

Visible debris indicates the Funnel has run big at least once, but it once again looks more like a ski chute than an ass-clam, and the initial vertlcal step is nearly buried.  dodging baseball sized "snowflakes" to glass it.   Note that Assicle road has not been plowed, although DOT has removed a handful of volkswagen-sized boulders from the roadway.  For the time being, you'll need a high-clearance 4wd to negotiate the Bridge Creek parking turnaround.

roll on winter!!!


Edited by montypiton
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Attention all you hardmen and women....the table is set and the DEATH climbs (death picnic, death banquet, death smorgasbord, death fondue, death BBQ, etc.) on the North side of Table Mountain are served..... Don't worry, there won't be a wait to get a table.


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Ok, finally conditions have stabilized sufficiently to justify a latest edition of Haireball's Ass-clammin report:   After monitoring the Funnel for a week, and snooping around elsewhere in the Icicle, Anthony Lubetski and I pulled the trigger and walked up to Hubba Hubba this morning. It had not been our first choice, but Eightmile Butt-rest has melted out, and the only other ice that looked remotely climbable was the Dog Nasty Dike on Dog Dome, and we were not prepared to bridge the river.  so - Hubba Hubba.

after a sobering approach over  piles of avalanche debris we estimated at thirty feet or more deep,  we found the Funnel to be badly sun rotted and shedding bits at a greater pace than we wanted to risk, so we opted for Hubba Hubba left, hoping for two pitches WI-3, M-0.  The first WI-2, M-0 pitch was bony but fun (I always enjoy old-school mixed), but the second WI-3 pitch was being continuously scoured by bits of ice and dirt shed from the sun-baked ridge above, so we chickened out and rapped off from the resident anchor.  It was a fabulous morning, even with the post-holing in an inconsistent snow cover that could be a leg-breaker for the unwary.

lowland ice appears to be disappearing at an unexpectedly fast pace,.  When Dr Shipman and I can do a fly-over (nice to have climbing partners who own and fly small airplanes), I'll present what we see in the alpine venues.   If we don''t suffer a catastrophically abrupt spring melt, I expect to see a superb spring alpine mixed season in the Stuart range.


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Following in the footsteps of Haireball, the OG ass conditions reporter; Tom Beirne and I went on the final Alpental valley ass scouting mission of the 2020-21 season yesterday. Not that Alpental is competing with the Icicle or anything, but a reported tiny avy debris pile of only 30 feet deep below the Funnel (can someone please buy Mr. Piton a camera and teach him how to use it?) is nothing compared to the 2,000' slide that started on Chair Peak that ran over and out of Source Lake:


For a lackluster ice season, the big news in the Alpy environs this winter is the snow pack, it is huge. My memory is not good enough to compare to the '98-99 season, but it is deep as I have ever seen now. But deep snow, high sun, and warm temps are essentially shutting down the lower Snoqualmonix ice season. 

Somewhere in this photo is Flow Reversal (blue bleached white):


Our plan was to climb Source Lake Line, but the ice looked too aerated, too top heavy, and there was still too much hang fire (cornices are huge now) to risk it:


The consolation was climbing the aptly named Hot Line, which was in WI4+ condition (versus the FA WI6 pillar condition) -  Tom Beirne pic:


Kiddie cliff was basically buried too. There still may be some low ice to still swing tools into, e.g., I saw climbers on Stellar Falls a few days ago, but it is going to fall apart pretty quickly and any snice top out will probably be scary rotten. Time to move up into the alpine or dig out the rock shoes. 

Edited by Doug_Hutchinson
Spelting ain't mah stronge suit
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