The wind before the storm

My new Jetforce pack, finished charging with 4 lights on!

My new Jetforce pack, finished charging with 4 lights on!

I always want to go skiing, but after my new pack came, I couldn't help myself. I snuck up to Cameron Pass early the day before the storm, to test the pack and get some elevation under my legs. 

It was 34 degrees when I left town at 5am, and in the 50's in the narrows at 5:30am - kind of unnerving! It was back "down" to 32 at Cameron Pass, which should have felt warm except for the 25mph winds. 

Nokhu Crags from S Diamond Pk, Cameron Pass, Dec 2016

Toured up to the South Shoulder of South Diamond Peak, avoiding all the main slopes on a week like this. Every other skin track popped onto the bench before getting to the ridge line, which I try to avoid like the plague from December on, so I made a new one lower down until it hit the shoulder. 

With all the recent reports of close-calls in Colorado, like the accident at Rabbit Ears last weekend, I didn't want to take any chances. 

The conditions are definitely variable, with great skiing in the trees, but very wind affected at and above treeline. You can see the snow nuking off the ridgeline. 

It's a little windy!  Ridgeline gusts of 40+

It's a little windy!  Ridgeline gusts of 40+

Friday night and Saturday morning this weekend are under an Avalanche Watch for the Front Range - when I dug into the snow I didn't see any reason to think otherwise. I found pockets of graupel along with other wind affected layers - it's a great weekend to keep the conservative mindset for touring!!

snowpack, south diamond pk, Cameron Pass, Dec 2016

Play Safe this weekend if you head out!