Jan 17, 2010

Allison Clay Drainage - Kachina Peaks (Flagstaff, AZ)

Maadjurguer and I split from his place at about 5:30 am, and en route we made plans to meet up with a buddy of his in downtown Flagstaff, for a little tour over to the Allison Clay gully in the Kachina Peaks.

We split from the parking lot at 9:30, where we cut across Harts Prairie to Humprhey Trail. We then jumped on an established skin track and headed due north through the forest to Dutchman path. The we skinned up this clearing to the bomber crash site. Once we got to the bomber we traversed north around the mountain to Allison Clay.

When we got to the vast slope I could tell surface of the snow was gonna be horrid. It was ripped and rippled wind blown crust. The avi conditions were stable, but Maad wanted to get some snow analysis done before the next cycle storms were ready to hit during the next week. So he dug a pit and noted the stats. The weak layer on top appears it might be a problem once the next dump sits on it.

Maad and his buddy traversed across the bowl to the other side to take a look at the next gully on the other side of the next ridge. Myself I was pretty content staying right where I was at. I could see that although the other side of gully had seen some sun, it still look pretty nasty. Once I hit the bowl, my expectations were justified because the crust was terrrible, and no improvement in the conditions were found once I skied down and across the the other side of the gully. I'm glad I didn't spend anymore effort on this gully.

Once I met up with my colleagues, it wasn't easy for us to decide to leave Allison Clay and exit stage left to the trees where the snow was protected. And that was where the fun was at. The fresh snow that fell the past week was in excellent condition. We had traversed a little closer to the resorts direction, but we kept our eyes pealed for the ideal glade to rip down. Once we found some good tree spacing we tore it up. That was some really fun skiing.

I tried a new helmetcam mounting, but unfortunately I had it aimed at my ski tips. I ended up using this footage sparingly in the vid of the day. I also made a special vid of Maadjurguer doing his snow pit analysis.

Ski tour Vid:

Snow Analysis vid with Google Earth Route (Red line is the path up, Purple Line is Maad's path to the otherside, Yellow Line is Maad's descent, and the Blue line is the rest of the descent.)

Here's a little discussion over at Kachina Peaks Avalanche Center about Maad's analysis.

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