Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

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GregM
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by GregM »

Really nice day of skiing off Kachina yesterday (Monday). 6-10 inches of new snow from the Friday/Saturday storm. Still fierce winds on the ridge, but no signs of instability coming down Main Street and Hunziker.
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JBella
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by JBella »

Yesterday afternoon/evening on Kachina;
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Some of the best conditions I've seen all season! Dense, firm, yet blower soft pow in the K Chutes. We left the Bavarian about 2pm, gained the ridge a couple hours later. By the time we had made it that far the sunset was beginning it's gradual progression into the night. Temps had warmed enough to soften the snow on the southerly aspects. We climbed Patrol Chute in dense snow from the recent storm cycle that had covered terrain that had melted out making the ascent quite easy and fast. There were 8 tracks in K4 and one in K5. We set our direction towards K3. Dug a pit on a northerly aspect at the top of Cabin Chute, our findings were interesting. The storm snow (one inch from the previous night and the 8-14 from the previous storm) had bonded well and settled to a wind deposited layer 14 inches deep, sitting atop a frozen conglomerate of crusts and dust about 14 inches thick, then a half cm layer of surface hoar above a 4 inch pencil hard crust. Below this was about 3-4 feet of very advanced and unconsolidated depth hoar. This was the concern. It was very difficult to cut thru and break the frozen layer(s), the 4 inch thick crust would easily break apart and collapse into the depth hoar leading to my assessment that the slope (and similar aspects in the K Chutes) were likely safe to ski, tho if something were to release it would be a deep and dangerous slide (this is the lurking deep slab instability issue mentioned in my recent post). We continued on to K3 as the day was coming to an end. Dropping in, the snow at the top was dense and styrofoam like slab, below the first 20 feet it was softer, leading to some blower face shots. There was three of us and two dogs, we rode the chute in three segments. The ride was great, with the deeper buried dh snow constantly on my mind. One of the dogs wouldn't follow us and ended up cliffed out in Dahl-Bredine's, which led to the rest of our adventure. In short, we climbed K1 attempting to get the dog to follow us. Todd rode down to the top of lift 4 and Sheri and I climbed and gained the ridge as the first starlight was showing it's presence for the night. After a few minutes and a hike down to the cabin, well in voice communication with Todd, we made the decision to descend and hope the dog would find her way down. We rode down on a gradual downhill traverse to skier's left thru Cabin Trees. The snow was amazing quality, dry powder ten inches deep, coming out of the trees onto the southeast facing apron it had melted to a solid crust, transitioning to dryer styrofoam like consistency where the slope transitions to a more easterly aspect. After meeting at the top of Lift 4 we descended to the Bavarian. Long night sleeping in the car waiting for the lost dog who never showed up. Sheri hiked back up to the ridge this morning and found her, a bit cold but otherwise ok.
Top of Cabin Chute
Top of Cabin Chute
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Bob
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by Bob »

Spring skiing!

Good news about the dawg.
walks with ducks
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by walks with ducks »

Damn, who leaves a dog behind?
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JBella
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by JBella »

Anyone who realizes it's too risky to put themselves in danger by walking onto a cliff face after dark without ropes and harnesses, adequate lights, water and food, heat source and any other proper rescue equipment. Believe me it wasn't an easy decision but when it's a dog's safety compared to our own, or any human, it is the best decision. And like I wrote, we slept in the Bavarian parking lot then went up again at sunrise and the dog was fine. We also live here and are very familiar with the terrain and environment in this region, and given the situation after discussion and considering our options we made a mutual decision that we agreed was the best to make.

If you know Dahl-Bredine's, and any of the terrain here, it is easy to understand why we made the decisions we did. Were it a human who was lost/injured/stuck on a cliff it would have been an entirely different situation. Additional help and resources would have been called in and we would have been up there until the person was rescued. But we're not going to call SAR for a dog, that is generally considered to be an unnecessary use of resources that creates too much risk for the people involved.

So if it were you in the same situation, would you risk your own well being, and your friends', as well as rescuers who would be risking themselves to rescue you if you attempted to rescue the dog and took a fall over 100 feet of cliffs during the night?

Not that this is the place for these debates, yet I won't be surprised to see responses like "you shouldn't bring the dog if you can't keep it off the cliffs", "you don't deserve to have a dog", and "if it were me I would have stayed up there". And that's fine. But in my opinion, unless and until you know the people and circumstances involved in a situation like this there is no place for judgmental attitudes.
Kerry
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by Kerry »

Dog while skiing...just another trigger ;)
Kerry
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by Kerry »

Henry & I skied Sin Nombre mid-day and NE aspect of LFP around 3 pm. Sin Nombre was silky, dry, fast. LFP was soft, dry above 11,800, but hooky. Below about 11,200 this afternoon the snow became wet and grabby. Skiing out the Windsor felt like I had no wax (had good warm snow temp wax).
Lots of shallow wet loose slides on E-S aspects. Some on W-NW aspects after 2. Nothing was stepping down below the recent fresh snow. Cut a cornice on LFP without results.
Glad we could get out today. Forecast at 11,000 shows no freeze until Tues night. We had a good freeze last night, but it really warmed up today (Friday).
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Bob
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by Bob »

scotthsu and AlexAdams took me along today on Alex' first ski trip into Williams Lake to the classic Lake Fork Peak NE side. Conditions were pretty good - nice skinning in and good coverage. There were tracks on a lot of the shots back there. We saw some sloughs and rollers mostly from yesterday, and I got a point release going high on LFP but it didn't come to anything. Really a pretty nice morning - get an early start for sure.

Skinning up the SE side of LFP:
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Looking over at Steve/Sin Nombre and Old MIke - pretty good coverage:
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Scott at the top, mind blown:
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Alex packs it up, looking down the NE side:
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Scott headed down:
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Alex:
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At the top of the highest moraine:
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Nice spring skiing - the trail out was still in decent shape around noon.
scotthsu
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by scotthsu »

A good day indeed. A few more beta shots.
Bob and Alex breaking out of the trees; Ohio couloir in the background.
Bob and Alex breaking out of the trees; Ohio couloir in the background.
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Bob skinning SE aspect of LFP; Wheeler in the background.
Bob skinning SE aspect of LFP; Wheeler in the background.
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Mitrik
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by Mitrik »

WHEELER TUES morning 5/13 next week. Photoshoot.
I'll be skiing Wheeler SW or NW gully. SW gully looks a bit more fun and steeper.
Anyone is welcome to join me.

It will be a photo shoot so I'll be sure to get some fun photos of whoever joins. Must sign a photo release legal doc so you have to be over 18.
Txt me if your interested 518...935...0560 - Mike
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JBella
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by JBella »

Mitrik wrote:WHEELER TUES morning 5/13 next week. Photoshoot.
I'll be skiing Wheeler SW or NW gully. SW gully looks a bit more fun and steeper.
Anyone is welcome to join me.

It will be a photo shoot so I'll be sure to get some fun photos of whoever joins. Must sign a photo release legal doc so you have to be over 18.
Txt me if your interested 518...935...0560 - Mike
What's this for? I may be into it.
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chrishami
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by chrishami »

scotthsu wrote:Bob and Alex breaking out of the trees; Ohio couloir in the background.
Ohio couloir has been recently re-christened: it's now JBella chute.
:D
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JBella
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by JBella »

chrishami wrote:
scotthsu wrote:Bob and Alex breaking out of the trees; Ohio couloir in the background.
Ohio couloir has been recently re-christened: it's now JBella chute.
:D
I don't know how I feel about that. It's a different line tho Chris, the Ohio is on the Lake Fork/Sin Nombre ridge. Also used to be known as the King's Throne.

Temps did drop below freezing last night, into the upper 20s on Highline for about six hours and for a few hours at the site midway up Lift 4.
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Bob
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by Bob »

chrishami wrote:
scotthsu wrote:Bob and Alex breaking out of the trees; Ohio couloir in the background.
Ohio couloir has been recently re-christened: it's now JBella chute.
:D
See, this is why it's a lot easier to just call everything Steve. 8)
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chrishami
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Re: Taos Ski Valley/Wheeler Peak Region

Post by chrishami »

Haha, Steve it is. I didn't even look at the photo closely, just saw the word Ohio.
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