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DrDre

Shasta conditions

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Thinking of a trip down to Mt shasta weekend of 10-20. What are the conditions for skiing/mountaineering? Also possibly looking for a partner. PM if interested. dre'

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Call or google the "Fifth Season" in the town of Mount Shasta, they have a # specifically for mountain conditions. When i drove past about a week ago it was looking rather snowy...

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got some turns up on NNE black butte today, mostly bulletproof, although Id imagine corn on s.f. aspects.

 

road to bunny flat is not yet plowed...

Edited by danhelmstadter

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-- booted/skinned a few laps up on the south hill of the resort today, a few inches of fluff on top of crust(s)

 

bunny flat road is still closed, apparently opening soon. next storm is supposed to come in cold with light precip, and se winds, might load avi gulch "just right".

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poked around at a ne aspect on the base (~4k)of black butte (consistant 35-45dg 2000' cinder cone) today, found 2+' of dangerously new wet snow, what was the bulletproof old surface of last week, is now a barely discernable crust layer. wind transport out of sw at ~6k

 

shasta looked like a furocious beast, through the occasional cloud break -- way too windy to be enjoyable...

 

hope they keep up with the plowing this time...

Edited by danhelmstadter

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black butte was sick today -- ego pow on top of edgeable crust, with the rare area of exposed rain crust. skiied the ne face again, mostly stable snow, with a little concern of a sandwiched weak layer about -35cm from surface, compression tests yielded moderate to poor stability although the shear plane was to dirty for anything to move... no whumps or cracks either. trail breaking was difficult with mostly knee deep snow, and areas of waist deep, along with the occasional “bottomless” pit...

 

up high on shasta it is likely that insidious windslabs lay in patient repose waiting for the brave.

 

Edited by danhelmstadter

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absolutely sick powder on black butte today, no stop steep fall line skiing - just in time before the yellow winter sun set behind of the shadowy veil of the clouded siskiyous - black butte was in a sun hole the whole afternoon! - with 6"/1' of fresh unconsolidated powder...

 

skinned in, then booted up titties snow, until it got above the knees halfway up, threw on the skins again - much less masochistic than yesterdays chest deep shenanigans.

 

new snow has bonded very well, and the crust from the rains of the 27 has thickened despite the insolating blanket over it. sandwiched weak layer now at ~ -2.5' is biggest concern.

 

roads to bunny flat, and castle lake remain closed since the 26.

 

Edited by danhelmstadter

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Good skiing down here in Cali, many of the access roads remain unplowed, but still plenty of steep untracked powder to be found.

Stability on SW,WNW,NNW aspects below treeline have had low danger the last few days (inluded some obs below - sorry couldn't paste without butchering, and pics are of shitty quality due to disposables, and pathetic photography skills)

 

 

 

2008/02/06 Observer: Dan Helmstadter

Forecast Zone: Black Butte Location: NNW

Forecasted Danger Level: High Observed Danger Level: Low

Route: NNW aspect @ 5400’

Weather: Mostly sunny, calm wind, air temperature 30dg f.

Avalanche Activity: None observed

Cracking: No Collapsing: No Wind Effect: very little, very isolated areas of minor wind crust

Snow Surface: Heavy Powder Riding Conditions: very good

Snowpack: Very stable snow currently exists on the NNW aspect of Black Butte

Comments: Layering within snowpack is very similar to the WNW aspect on Black Butte, which I checked yesterday. (crusts are a little thicker) The tests compression column test, and the shear column tests today produced no failures even with excessive force. An improvement from yesterday. That weak layer I found at -35cm yesterday seemed to have stabilized today, or id could be an aspect sensitive issue – being weaker on the WNW aspects. The 8cm of surface snow is lighter density, and more porous than the underlying snow, which could be an issue if we get sufficient loading out of this next storm cycle. I could not find any layers of facets, even near the crusts, however I did notice that many of the deeper crystals had characteristics of faceting (some angular qualities) while they also had – and much more prevalent – rounded characteristics. And this mixed crystal snow was very cohesive, and strong. The deep snow is also very dense, not very porous (air spaces between crystals) a big difference from Colorado.

Paste snowpit graphics (www.snowpilot.org) or photos here

Snow Pit Data: Aspect- NNW Slope Angle 35dg Pit depth: 1.4 meters foot penetration around pit: 30cm. Time: ~3:00pm Date: 2/6/08 Air temperature 3’ above surface: 30dg f Elevation: ~5200’

Temp Grain type Grain size Hardness

S.: 28dg fn. + (sintering dendrites) 2mm Fist to -8cm

 

-20 20dg fn. +(less pourous sintering 2mm/1mm 2 fingers

dendrites and / )

 

-40 21 slightly faceted rounds 1mm 1 finger

5 cm Knife hard melt/freeze/raincrust @ -58 cm

 

-60 21 rounds and / .5 – 1mm 1 finger

 

-80 22 / sintering well .5 - 1mm 1 finger

 

-100 22 slightly faceted rounds .2 - .7mm pencil

6 cm knife hard melt/freeze/raincrust @ -105 cm

 

-120 23 slightly faceted rounds .2 - .8mm pencil

 

-140 23 slightly faceted rounds .2 - .8mm knife

 

 

Date: 2008/02/05 Observer: Dan Helmstadter

Forecast Zone: Black Butte Location: WNW aspect skied from top (5500’) and dug a pit at 5200’ on the same WNW aspect.

Forecasted Danger Level: High Observed Danger Level: Moderate

Route: WNW flank of Black Butte, from (5500’)

Weather: variably cloudy, calm to light wind from SE, ambient air temperature ~38dg f @ 5200’

Avalanche Activity: recent point release on low elevation L-N-D1-R1 on WNW aspect

Cracking: No Collapsing: No Wind Effect: yes, especially in unprotected areas

Snow Surface: Heavy powder to small areas of wind affected snow. Riding Conditions: sick

Snowpack: Several layers of concern, however tests yielded stable results, I would imagine lower danger in the morning, followed by moderate once the sun has heated it up. A slab might be possible with a large trigger.

Comments: Defenetly a little different snowpack than yesterday. First of all, the surface was defiantly slabby in areas, a couple of inches of one finger penetration over a foot or so of three fingers in many areas. A failure from a compression test, with a hard rating (heavy hits with full arm) failed at -30cm on some snow which did not appear well sintered with a q3 shear rating. The next issue is the layering and crusts which exist within the snowpack. @ -43 cm from surface was an old frozen rain crust layer averaging about 3cm thick, some near crust faceting was noticed immediately under crust. The next rain or melt freeze crust is located at ~ -80cm This deeper snowpack seemed generally stable, although I did get a failure at -73cm on a q2 shear plane with a hard rating (strenuous pulling) from a shear test. I think mostly stable conditions exist, however hitting just the right spot, or takeing a big air, snowmobile etc… might be able to trigger something on that -35cm depth.

Paste snowpit graphics (www.snowpilot.org) or photos here

Snow Pit Data: Aspect- WNW Slope Angle 32dg Pit depth: 120 CM foot penetration around pit: 25cm. Time: ~3:30pm Date: 2/5/08 Air temperature 3’ above surface: 38dg f Elevation: ~5200’

Temp Grain type Grain size Hardness

Surface: 21 fn. / 2mm 1finger

-20 20 f. / 2mm/1mm 3 fingers

-40 21 / 1mm pencil

-43 Rain or mf crust at -43 1mm/2mm knife

-60 22 / 1mm pencil

-80 23 Rain or mf crust at -80 1mm/2mm knife

-100 23 rounds .5 but clustered to 3mm knife

-120 23 rounds .5 but clustered to 3mm knife

 

Date: 02/04/2008 Observer: Dan Helmstadter

Forecast Zone: Shasta Location: sw aspect peak 6873 near Mcbride c.g.

Forecasted Danger Level: High Observed Danger Level: Low

Route: SW aspect off of peak 6873 (next to Cascade gulch & Mcbride Springs

Weather: Mostly cloudy, light wind from west, ambient air temperature ~15dg f @ 6700’

Avalanche Activity: None observed

Cracking: No Collapsing: No Wind Effect: Yes in open areas, and especially on north faceing aspects which were scoured hard on nw faceing slope descending to cascade gulch

Snow Surface: Powder Riding Conditions: Excellent powder

Snowpack: Stable snow existed on below treeline SW aspect of peak 6873

Comments: I am surprised how stable the snow is, and how different and safe it is relative to the continental snowpack of Colorado and Wyoming that I am used to. only 5dg temprature gradient in 2m http: , no noticeable weak layers. New snow load is bonding very well, fragmented dendrintes are rounding and sintering nicely. Only obvious crust found in pit was a raincrust buried 2 meters, with good stability, and little faceting affect near crust. I would say that low danger avalanche conditions exist, on the SW aspect which I skied. Obvious wind affect from storm event must have loaded certain aspects heavily.

Both Shear test and compression test found very little instability, with a shear test failing at -40cm with a Q2 shear plane, with (strenuous effort) very good score..

Paste snowpit graphics (www.snowpilot.org) or photos here

Snow Pit Data: Aspect- SW Slope Angle 42dg Pit depth: 2 meters foot penetration around pit: wasit deep. Time: ~3:45pm Date: 2/4/08 Air temperature 3’ above surface: 15dg f Elevation: ~6700’

Temp Grain type Grain size Hardness

Surface: 19 fn. + / 2mm Fist to -15cm

-20 16 f. + / 2mm/1mm 2 fingers

-40 16 / 1mm 2 f q2 shear test very good

-60 17 / 1mm 2f

-80 17 / 1mm 1f

-100 18 / 1mm 1f

-120 18 / rounds 1mm pencil

-140 19 rounds 1mm pencil

-160 19 rounds 1mm pencil

-180 20 rain or mf crust rounded 1mm pencil

-200 21 rounds 1mm knife

[blackbutte.JPGsadie.JPGblb.JPGNNW.JPG

Edited by danhelmstadter

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Date: 2008/02/07 Observer: Dan Helmstadter

Forecast Zone: Black Butte Location: NW

Forecasted Danger Level: High Observed Danger Level: Low mornings, Moderate later

Route: NW aspect @ 4300’

Weather: Mostly sunny, calm wind, air temperature 45dg f.

Avalanche Activity: NUMEROUS WL-N-D1-R1 with one R2 observed NW through N aspects

Cracking: No Collapsing: No Wind Effect: No

Snow Surface: Wet grains, Glop Riding Conditions: Gooie good

Snowpack: Warm temps affect snowpack, underlying weak layer @ -33cm on NW aspect

Comments: Temperatures have warmed substantially, warming the top 10cm of snowpack to wet grains.(at low elevations) All of the NW through N chutes/snowfields shiited with WL-N-D1-R1 with one R2 lanches, so I stopped traversing upslope to the N @ ~4300’ and dug pit, found 60cm snow well bonded to hard rain/mf crust below, but upon Colum tests - I found a weak layer of facets amid the 2finger snow, which both the shear and compression tests confirmed at -33cm. The compression test found the layer with a moderate rating, and the shear test found it with a hard rating -- both with a q2 shear quality. This was on a 37dg test slope, with sintering dendrites and the wet surface grains as mentioned above. And sintering dendrites and rounds below to the crust. It should be noted that these facets also exhibited substantial necking, and the facets themselves where small…I would be worried about sluffing while skiing – the skier triggered sluffs could very well become big enough (during the afternoons) to trigger a slab via the -33cm facet layer. Interesting that yesterday I found no such layer on a slightly northerly aspect, which might suggest that the previous wind event was more out of the north – compressing or destroying any facets on the N. aspects/ while the more westerly aspects might be exposed to facet destroying solar rays- leaving the NW aspects to the peril of facet formation for that particular time period. This situation is very time sensitive, being safe in the AM and growing perilous in the afternoon – for these NW low elevation aspects…

Paste snowpit graphics (www.snowpilot.org) or photos here

Snow Pit Data: Aspect- NW Slope Angle 37dg Pit depth: 80 CM foot penetration around pit: 38cm. Time: ~3:00pm Date: 2/7/08 Air temperature 3’ above surface: 45dg f Elevation: ~4300’

Temp Grain type Grain size Hardness

Surface: 29dg fn. Wet grains 1mm- 2mm Fist to -12cm

 

-20 21dg fn. sintering dendrites-rounds .2mm-2mm 2 fingers

 

 

-40 19 sintering dendrites-rounds .2mm-2mm 2 fingers

 

 

-60 18 rain or melt freeze crust .2mm-alone pencil

“ “ “ “ knife

Multiple layers of R/MF crust with varying cohesion knife

-80 18 “ “ “ “ .2mm-alone pencil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by danhelmstadter

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Date: 2008/02/08 Observer: Dan Helmstadter

Forecast Zone: Black Butte Location: WNW

Forecasted Danger Level: High Observed Danger Level: Low mornings, Moderate to considerable later in afternoons with sufficient warming

Route: NNW aspect @ 4500’

Weather: Mostly sunny, calm wind, air temperature 35dg f.

Avalanche Activity: numerous old WL-N-D1-R1 with one R2 observed NW through N aspects

Cracking: No Collapsing: No Wind Effect: No

Snow Surface: Wet grains – to crust in shaded areas Riding Conditions: good, a little crusty, and wet

Snowpack: Warm temps affect snowpack, underlying weak layer @ -35cm on WNW aspect sitting on top of old knife crusts

Comments: I got up on Black Butte a little later than I did yesterday, temps were 10 degrees cooler today, but the snow continues to become increasingly spring like. Thin temperature crust on top of wet grains were the surface conditions today @430pm on WNW aspects from 4k to 4.5k I dug my test pit in a somewhat more tree sheltered higher elevation area than I did yesterday, today, I found a 35cm slab of 1F-2F sitting on top of old knife crusts which compose the base of the snowpack. CT...15…q2 @-35cm on FG 1MM STH q2 @ -35CM on FG 1MM This will be a concern in the afternoons, upper slab is of greatly varied thickness, as difference from today’s and yesterdays observations unveiled, which is why I would say the danger might rise to considerable in the afternoons with sufficient warming, also large triggers may be necessary to trigger slab i.e. - snow machines, large sluffs, jumps…

Paste snowpit graphics (www.snowpilot.org) or photos here

Snow Pit Data: Aspect- WNW Slope Angle 36dg Pit depth: 60 CM foot penetration around pit: 28 cm. Time: ~4:30pm Date: 2/8/08 Air temperature 3’ above surface: 35dg f Elevation: ~4500’

Temp Grain type Grain size Hardness

Surface: 29dg fn. Wet grains 1mm- 2mm Fist to -6cm

 

-20 25dg fn. rounds .5mm 1 F

 

CT...15…q2 @-35cm on FG 1MM STH q2 @ -35CM on FG 1MM

-35 Crust Crust

-40 22 Crust clustered individual knife

Grains 1mm-2mm

 

-60 18 “ “ “ “ “ “ “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by danhelmstadter

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Date: 2008/02/09 Observer: Dan Helmstadter

Forecast Zone: Black Butte Location: NW

Forecasted Danger Level: Moderate Observed Danger Level: Low (moderate possible with sufficient warming, but temp forecast does not suggest drastically warming temps. In the next few days.

Route: NW Black Butte, from 5500 2x laps

Weather: Mostly sunny, calm wind, air temperature 41dg f.

Avalanche Activity: numerous OLD WL-N-D1-R1 with one R2 observed NW through N aspects

Cracking: No Collapsing: No Wind Effect: No

Snow Surface: Melt Freeze crust, thin at lower elevations, thickening higher. Crust is also thicker on snowslopes affected by old WL slides. Surface of crust melted to corn in some areas, and close to it in many other areas Riding Conditions: “almost-corn” (and felt like corn on skis, but in reality is not quite there yet) after sufficient warming/sun ~ after 1pm above 4300’, wet glop below. Very top 50’ did not warm enough for corn – so it was a supportable crust. Old WL slides R1/R2 of a few days ago has also helped to set up the “almost-corn” by compacting the surface snow somewhat, areas not affected by wet slides were mostly deep glop with a foot pen. Of 15cm.

Snowpack: Good stability

Comments: Snow should be true corn by the day after tomorrow on NW aspects if current weather/temperature regime continues. Thawing of snow is not complete until ~3:00pm and starts to resolidify at ~4:30. Today I dug my pit on a NW facing slope @ 5400’. I dug to the ground, and found it at -180cm. No depth hoar! What a difference from Colorado! There was approximately 10cm of 1mm pencil facets just above ground. These facets were partially necking. The only crust within the snowpack was ~4cm thick and found @ -80cm. This crust hosted a 2cm layer of 1MM FC crystals on its surface tests produced CT…12…Q2…@-80cm on 1mm FC and STH…Q2…@-80 on 1mm FC The thickness and strength of this slab along with the developing surface crust should make it very hard to trigger. However yesterdays pit dug on same aspect about 1000’ feet lower proved that the thickness of this slab is spatially variable.

Paste snowpit graphics (www.snowpilot.org) or photos here

Snow Pit Data: Aspect- NW Slope Angle 39dg Pit depth: 180 CM foot penetration around pit: 12 cm. Time: ~2:30pm Date: 2/9/08 Air temperature 3’ above surface: 42dg f Elevation: ~5400’

Temp Grain type Grain size Hardness

Surface: 25dg fn. Frozen M/F crust N/A K to -9cm

 

-20 21dg fn. rounds 1mm P

 

-40 20 rounds 1mm P

 

-60 20 rounds 1mm P

-79 CT…12…Q2…@-80cm on 1mm FC and STH…Q2…@-80 on 1mm FC

-80 21 Crust 2 mm K

 

-100 21 rounds .5mm-1mm K

 

-120 23 rounds .5mm-1mm K

 

-140 24 rounds .5mm-1mm K

 

-160 25 slightly faceted rounds 1mm-2mm P

 

-180 26 faceted rounds 1mm-2mm P

Ground

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by danhelmstadter

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Danhelmstadter,

 

 

thanks very much for the updates on Shasta. This year the reports from the USFS have been sparse due to the ranger, who reported on this, left.

 

The Fifth season and USFS still do a good job, but nothing like the detail you are providing.

 

I want to go climbing as soon as the snow pack stabilizes enough for me to feel secure going up on green butte ridge, so I will keep checking for your snow reports.

 

Thanks again for your efforts and information. It is really appreciated and I wanted to say THANKS!

 

Joe

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Clavote - no problem, glad I can help; I hope your ventures up the mountain are Successful! cheers

 

 

Date: 2008/02/10 Observer: Dan Helmstadter

Forecast Zone: Black Butte Location: NW

Forecasted Danger Level: Moderate Observed Danger Level: Low

Route: NW Black Butte, from 5500

Weather: Thin cloud cover , calm wind, air temperature 40dg f.

Avalanche Activity: numerous 3-4 day OLD WL-N-D1-R1 with one R2 observed NW through N aspects; nothing new

Cracking: No Collapsing: No Wind Effect: No

Snow Surface: Melt Freeze crust, thin at lower elevations, thickening higher. Crust is also thicker on snow slopes affected by old WL slides. Surface of crust melted to corn in some areas, and close to it in many other areas. Ski penetration on slide affected slopes is ~3cm and foot penetration is 12cm. In areas not affected by old WL slides, ski penetration is 8cm (wet grains) foot penetration is ~25cm. Riding Conditions: rippa

Snowpack: Good stability

Comments: Snowpack on NW low elevation aspects continues to stabilize, today CT and ST’s at same elevation and aspect as yesterdays – revealed increasing stability, with CT…12…Q3…@-80cm on faceting melt freeze/rain crust, and a STN. Surface snow grains continue to grow and mature with warm days and cool nights, today a thin but sun-penetrable cloud layer helped to “trap” and increase solar radiation input into the snowpack, which will no doubt result in increased m/f metamorphosis, and a thicker crust by tomorrow – if tonight’s forecasted temperatures prove true. Suspect slab interface with crust continues to strengthen, while surface M/F crust strengthens - which should mean increasingly low avalanche danger with the exception of very warm mid-late afternoon daytime temperatures.

Paste snowpit graphics (www.snowpilot.org) or photos here

Snow Pit Data: Aspect- NW Slope Angle 40dg Pit depth: 90 CM foot penetration around pit: 12cm Ski penetration around pit: 3 cm. Time: ~2:30pm Date: 2/10/08 Air temperature 3’ above surface: 40dg f Elevation: ~5400’

Temp Grain type Grain size Hardness

Surface: 29dg fn. Frozen M/F crust N/A K to -10cm

 

-20 22dg fn. rounds .1-.5mm P

 

-40 21 rounds .1-.5mm P -53 rounds .1-.5mm K-53cm-57cm

-60 22 rounds .1-.5mm P

-79 CT…12…Q3…@-80cm on 1mm FC and STN

-80 23 Crust 1-2 mm K

-90 23 rounds .5-1mm P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by danhelmstadter

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skiied Trinity chutes from summit on 17th, perfect corn. Attempted west face, but skiied AG route from 13300 plateau on 18th, highly variable knar.

 

trs- http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=9225.0

 

http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=9226.0

 

trinity_chutes.JPGshasta1.JPGlooking_down_on_west_face_route_begins_at_13300.JPG

Edited by danhelmstadter

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It looked like there was alot of snow down there. However the north side - all the way up to the base of the mountain is completely devoid of snow. The snow/rain shadow effect on Shasta is severe, with a large island patch of seemingly out of place desert to the north. If you had a 4x4 could probally drive to the base of Whitney glacer without encoutering snow, but there is probally 10' on the south side!

 

the north routes look like the most fun, but they are likely too icy for me now, as much of the recent wind has been from the north.

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I've climbed Sargent's Ridge and Skied Avalanche Gulch (from Thumb Rock), but I hear the Clear Creek Ridge is the best ski on the mountain if you hit it right. It's about an 8 hour drive to Bunny Flats from Tacoma, so probably add another hour-plus for Clear Creek TH. If the timing is right I'll let you know and we can make an outing of it!

 

Thanks for the info Dan!

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Skied the Southeast face of Shastina today, variable above 10k ice above 11k. It was kind of a disappointment, as I wanted to ski the Northeast face too, but it was all surface ice. nw_aspect_shasta.JPG

This is the NW aspect of Shasta, as seen from the north summit of Shastina.

Edited by danhelmstadter

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Nice work Dan!!! N side of Shasta looks far worse than I had envisioned. Any chance you happened to get good look at the SE aspects?

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I skiied the West Face of Shasta today - hainously icy - mixed with windboard. I climbed Avi Gulch, which looked to be in good condition for skiing.

 

96avs01 - The SE side still looks a little rocky to me, however, there is definitly plenty of snow in there; winds were pretty puishing out of the north this last storm.

 

TR- http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=9562.0

 

WEST_FACE.JPG

Edited by danhelmstadter

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