Dawn Patrol

Early Christmas Presents

NSOS Staffer Chris getting it done on the second lap. 

NSOS Staffer Chris getting it done on the second lap. 

In the spirit of the season, today was a little cold, fairly tiring, and mostly gluttonous. Temps ranged in the mid 20's as we parked around dawn, heading up to take a look at the new storm snow. 

Sun rise is a great chance to stop and vet the options we came up with on the car ride. 

Sun rise is a great chance to stop and vet the options we came up with on the car ride. 

The storm dropped around 8-10" at higher elevations, depending on how the wind moved things around. There were stretches of sheer joyous fluff with scattered moments of breakable crust that threw us off our guard. Luckily I'll just share the joyous moments :)

Cracking through storm snow - Red Flags!

Cracking through storm snow - Red Flags!

We were kept in check by a few signs of instability, the most significant being some cracking left after a big whumpf. This appeared to break down into the new storm snow, which was sitting on a old wind slab from last week (can you say bedlayer?). 

I said it was mostly gluttonous, right? 

I said it was mostly gluttonous, right? 

So we stuck to lower angles and still found some great treats a few different elevations. 

Looking back South Diamond Peak and Lulu Mountain in the background - we're pretty lucky to have this playground in our backyard!

Looking back South Diamond Peak and Lulu Mountain in the background - we're pretty lucky to have this playground in our backyard!

I'm a firm believer that you can find good skiing almost any day of the season - if you're looking to be able to do this yourself, join us for an AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course to start building your avalanche skills toolbox. 

End of November

The end of November is finally giving us enough flotation to keep away from rocks (well mostly) and trees (once I learn to steer again). There were reports of avalanches last weekend, which you can still see under 6-12" of new snow and wind deposits. 

Where'd the fluffy stuff go?   Backcountry skiing at Cameron Pass, early season, December 2016

Where'd the fluffy stuff go? 

Backcountry skiing at Cameron Pass, early season, December 2016

But the snow is skiing nice! Watch for rocks as always early season, it's not time to let 'er rip quite yet. I wish I had a pic of the core shot to prove who won the "find the first rock" contest. 

Lots of sugar down there.   Cameron Pass early season, December 2016 snowpit

Lots of sugar down there. 

Cameron Pass early season, December 2016 snowpit

The new snow is sitting on the early season sugar, proof again that the more things change the more they stay the same. I suspect that the slides from last weekend slid on the early season snow. How long will it take before this layer isn't a problem anymore?  I hate to say it, but maybe April.

Choosing to boot when the skin track has been partially blown away!  December 2016 Cameron Pass Backcountry Skiing Conditions

Choosing to boot when the skin track has been partially blown away!

December 2016 Cameron Pass Backcountry Skiing Conditions

We had the mountain to ourselves, but it's always good to remember that people are jonesin' to hit some pow (and likely rocks) this time of year. Choose your ascent and descent routes based on your own goals and comfort level, no need to follow others' tracks if you don't like how they look or where they go. Your inner voice might be the biggest factor in keeping you safe this winter.