SF Watershed

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SF Watershed

Postby clmbnski » Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:22 pm

So skiing in the Santa Fe watershed is supposedly illegal right? What is everyones opinion on going in there.
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Postby Bob » Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:28 pm

Well, from what I've seen it's been done rather commonly for years.

Mark and I were up on Deception Peak last Sunday and saw several sets of tracks going in to the 'shed.

The problem with discussing it is that people in an open forum (on the world-wide web) can be a bit reluctant to admit that they've done it.

One the one hand, I understand why it's illegal to go in there - the city wants to keep the drinking water flowing and clean and doesn't want to split a lot of hairs about which activities could be permitted and which couldn't. A significant part of the closure has to do with fire danger and that's not really an issue in winter. I don't really have an issue with skiers going in there because they're so low impact, but I can't see the city or the Forest Service going to the trouble of 'allowing' bc skiing because of all the bureaucratic fuss it would cause.

Last summer I was hiking along the top of the ridge to the north of the McClure Reservoir and spied a guy swimming in the reservoir.
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Postby rich » Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:09 am

Bob wrote:Last summer I was hiking along the top of the ridge to the north of the McClure Reservoir and spied a guy swimming in the reservoir.


Nice! Do you think he peed in it?

RE: skiing into the watershed, it definitely happens, though more in Spring than mid-Winter because of the steepness. I've gone in there mid-winter on a couple of occasions with permission to chase after missing out of bounds area skiers. It can be a pretty daunting descent in the middle of the night with a rescue pack. What I like to discourage is the unprepared area skier who either loses their way trying to ski Big T or thinks that skiing the watershed would be easy because it's downhill all the way to town. These folks are not prepared to ascend back up the ridge to get out of there. Generally, backcountry skiers are. The route back to town through the canyon is long and arduous and will definitely keep you out past your bedtime. Anyone who ventures in there should be ready for the potentially dicey snow conditions and the climb back out.
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Postby Matt » Wed Feb 21, 2007 12:08 pm

Although the SF watershed does hold some nice lines, there is much more interesting terrain available for day-tripping from the Ski Santa Fe parking lot.

Rich made some good points about the watershed.... Most entrances are at a prime angle for avy activity, poor aspect, and horrible climb out make a less desirable run than most in the area. That coupled with the unknown repercussions from being caught in there by the right person, make the potential rewards minimal. However, I can also see the allure of it due to its extreme vicinity to the ski area boundary, and apparent ease of access and escape (the latter being very untrue).

And, although I written this on other threads here, I want to again state that the E-SE aspect of the watershed is perhaps the worst in the SF area of those that are regularly skied. The snow conditions change extremely fast from powder to wet glop early in the morning. This creates an increased chance for wet slides that can catch you while ascending out of the basin when you're giddy as a school girl after your powder run.
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