Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Iceland volcano shots

Some mind blowingly great shots over here on the Boston Globe's Big Picture site. The scale of Eyjafjallajokull is unreal.

This link is also well worth visiting National Geographic's International Photography Contest 2009

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sledding in the sunshine

A buddy and I got to take advantage of one of the seemingly "every other day(s)" of sunshine (alternating stormy/sunny) we've been getting lately. With blue skies and unseasonably warm temps in the forecast we got a noonish start and headed for Lolo Pass. The lot was loaded with snowmobile trailers, everyone seemed to be thinking the same thing....lets drink some beer and sled.

We brought all of our ski gear with the thought of finding some north facing stash of pow. But when the parking break came on and we looked at all the gear in the bed of the pickup. This is what we did without much hesitation:

We rode about 40 miles, exploring a few roads that neither had been on, looking for some ski possibilities next year. This one should have about 3 more feet on it next year and be rippable.

The snow was rated "hero" and we rallied pretty much wherever we wanted. Well, maybe not anywhere, but anywhere our skills and retro sleds would take us. Capped off the ride up to the Lolo Warming Hut and had few Double Haul's in the sun and called'er a day.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Western Montana avalanche deaths

As has been the case most of this winter, the snowpack in Montana continues to be a problem. There is a lot of variability of the snowpack structure and the surface hoar layer we've been dealing with all winter is still there. It looks like this weather pattern might keep adding some big loads to it, be careful.

Two young men have lost their lives this week to avalanches in Western Montana. These are terrible losses to the community, not to mention their families.

Glacier releases details on avalanche that killed backcountry snowboarder Wright

Video from the GNP avalanche site - http://www.greatfallstribune.com/assets/wmv/G115496842.WMV

Idaho snowmobiler dies in avalanche in mountains west of Superior

From the Missoula Avalanche center avy report: "The accident at Missoula Lake happened Saturday on a sunny day prior to the current storm cycle and involved the buried surface hoar layer we have been describing for several weeks. Lookout and Lolo Pass SNOTEL sites recorded about an inch to an 1.5 inches of SWE respectively and just a few inches of new snow. The weight of the water is what we are concerned about. As far as the area around Hoodoo, which is about 6 miles south of the accident site, 3.7 inches of SWE is HUGE."

Looking uphill from the debris field. Person in the center of the shot is standing where the snowmobile was found. TJ was found about 70 feet uphill from the sled against a small group of trees.
View of the crown. It is possible the fracture initiated from the small group of trees next to the snowmobile track at the top of the path. This is a 35 degree slope overall, steeper at the ridgeline.