It has been a week since the last big storm with sun, wind, and high temps. Along with it most of the snow on Southerly aspects has completely melted, East aspects still marginally holding, and North aspects still holding and rotting down to around treeline.
A 4am wake-up call to rain. Pulling up NOAA we juggle the decision to make the drive. Luckily, we had a similar mindset of just wanting to get out and stretch the legs and so off we went.
The cards where in our favor today. After a quick snack and transition the sun started to poke out and we where on our way skinning up the 600ft glacier with the valley to ourselves. On the ascent we assessed the snow with smiles on our faces. 2-6 inches of dense powder that bonded well at the interface with no signs of instability. Stoked to get in some good turns!
A couple series of leap frog and about 500ft later we where slapping high fives with grin from ear to ear. Excellent early season turns as neither of us even touched the bed surface. Not having to worry about early season sharks? Yes, please!
Shortly after our transition and walk across the lake the sky starts to crackle as snow again starts to fall. The old thundersnow. Needless to say, we where stoked to be on our way down.
October 6th, is it winter yet? Last night we had our first significant snowfall here in Colorado. We where jonesin' and so headed up with Alex Gelb to see what was going on in the high country. A nice drive to the Divide and after a long overdue gear-up we where stepping into our bindings and skinning up-hill. Oh, what a great feeling!
After waking up to about 5 inches on my truck at 9,000ft I had a feeling that we would be able to find something to slide our boards on. The weather in town was clearing as the day progressed but we could see the Divide holding the storm so we decided to let it build for a couple more hours before we headed up. Sunny in town transitioned to single digits, 20-25mph winds, and low visibility up high on the Divide. We started skinning from the truck at about 11,000ft. For the most part we saw 5-6inches of soft powder as we skinned up just above 12,500ft. As we got higher we noticed much more wind affect in the form of windslab and cornices forming on the leeward of ridge-tops. Poking around we found these cornices developed up to 3ft+ thick at varying hardness and isolated instability with the old bed surfaces. The weak layers have begun.
We reached our intended summit in cold, windy, and low visibility conditions. I'm not going to lie when I say that it was a great feeling having the cold wind blow on my face. Regardless, a quick transition and discussion of our route. Our slope of choice was a mid 20 degree slope down the ridge. After the first couple of turns initiated a small whumpf and shooting crack. Sure sign of the instabilities that have already formed. After about a dozen or so turns we where back on our way down and dodging sharks as we skied to the truck.