While reports of good May skiing are coming out of Arizona’s Kachina Peaks, I am pulling the plug on my snow season – a season that lasted from late November until mid April. Mountain biking and other projects are are now more alluring, but first I would like to indulge my memories of snow.
James thinks that my best photo of the season. Is that because it’s James and his sexy tracks?!
I had about 40 days on the snow with 90% of those being backcountry days. Not bad for a La NiÃ±a season, where El NiÃ±o is typically best. What is really impressive, to me, is that I shredded 10 days of steep backcountry powder in big avalanche terrain. Sure I had good timing, but mostly I thank mama earth for the stable snow.
Photo by J.E.
To know if things are stable, one must poke, shovel and test the snow. It also helps to keep track of the snowpack throughout the season. This year I did both to a higher degree and for the first time in my backcountry career, I can reflect upon the season without finding any snow-stability-assessment mistakes.
I am now very close to fulfilling my dream of snowboarding or splitboarding every Major Snow Avalanche Zone of the Kachina (aka San Francisco) Peaks. One more good snow year should be enough to knock off the last 12 of the 77 avalanche zones. The dream, however, will never end – the Kachina’s have a lifetime of short, heardy lines. For instance.
My season ended on a very memorable tour up Doyle peak.
Notes from Diary:
April 10-11, 2011: Hike up above Lockett Meadow to camp stash. JE and C dog joined for dinner. Filet Mignon!!!!!!!!!!! Skin up North ridge of Doyle. West ridge might have had firmer snow better for fast skinning.... Here is the video.
!Supper awesome pow run down the Telescope Chute!!!!!! what a great 1000 foot run. 3000 for the day. 4000 for the trip. 13+ mile total trip.
Thank you to KPAC for the observations forums. Thank you to my touring friends. Bye til the snow fly’s!
Photo by James Foulks.