Nambe/Watershed Wednesday

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Nambe/Watershed Wednesday

Postby MarkM » Thu May 07, 2009 8:24 am

Another stellar day above Ski Santa Fe.

Got to the parking lot around 8:30 and ran into Cody who had some discouraging news about overnight temps (warm!) and soft/rotten snow on Tuesday - but we decided to give it a try, since we were already there.

Even though the thermometer said it was in the fourties, the snow was hard frozen all the way to the top. Got to Deception around 10:30. It wasn't exactly toasty warm, and there was a fierce breeze blowing.

We poked around a bit. The watershed side was warming up, but still a little firm on top. The top of the main chite into Nambe was still quite firm - not exactly frozen, but more "styrofoamy."

At about 11:00, we decided to give Bits and Pieces (watershed side) a try - as it was so good on Friday. It was a good choice again - nice corn on top, transitioning to softer (new?) snow in the bottom half, on a good firm base. Very nice. Booting out was good, mostly sinking in 3-6 inches, but there were one or two places where we went in a foot or so.

Back on top, around noon, we decided we needed to give Nambe a try (I was 0 for 3 for the season, so far). So we dropped into the main chute. It was still pretty firm on top, just a bit grabby, but you could get an edge into it. I would not have wanted to take a spill, though - that could have been a fast slide to the bottom.

About half way down, it softened up a little, with an inch or two of nice corn.

While we were packing up to go back out - Cody popped in for a quick run. He then went up a boot pack in the boot out chute (we call that one Gladfelter's Gelande). We followed him out.

The boot out was a bit of a chore - there were several places where we broke through into unconsolidated or rotten snow - sometimes postholing up to our hips and floundering around a bit to get some purchase. Crawling on hands and knees helped a little - but nott always. It seemed like this side was much less consolidated than the watershed side (even though the snow we were skiing on felt firmer). It was hard to believe this could have been the result of temperature differences overnight, or just warming for another hour since our first climb out earlier.

Anyhow, when we got out, it was getting a little late (I do have to go into work once in a while). So we just traversed straight across into the ski area between Sunset and Columbine. The snow was good (maybe a little gooey), but there are some serious bare patches forming. We did a lot of routefinding and traversing to stay in the snow, and did make it back to the bottom without too much dirt skiing. You can still "ski" almost all the way to the bottom of the quad. Going up, and coming down - Gayway, Open, and Midland still looked pretty good (and are continuous). They have smoothed out quite a bit - we probably should have taken the time to get to them for our descent. Lower Broadway is still continuous, but getting pretty suncupped and rough.

All in all, another fine day.
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