yesterday on the Beartooth Front

When Arctic air comes out the Northeast, and there happens to be the right amount of moisture around, the Beartooth Front can see some extraordinary snowfalls.! Yesterday was one such magical day.  30" or so of extremely light new snow (in about 24hrs).  Sans wind, and crowds.  :)

Mammut North America

photo courtesty of Kt Miller

Recently partnered with the kind Swiss folks over at Mammut.  They make excellent: avalanche safety equipment, rucksacks, mountain boots, climbing equipment and an assortment of other wonderful things related to skiing and the 'pine.  (and have a really cool local rep :).  So if you are in the market for a new transceiver or coat, check out their offerings, which are sound investments in my opinion.

Much appreciate their support.


behind the scenes

note the 2x4 in her backpack

There was a fun climbing pitch from last year, in the video below, that sticks to my memory.  The ice was pretty good in the corner below Kt, pictured above, but with long skis- the overhanging rock on the side was liable to push you off.

The fun part was that I found myself stemming-with my back pushing against the rock, and ice tools and skis out climbers left.  First and only time I've ever done that I think.  This pitch was nice because it was right at that level of an engaging but relatively comfortable solo.  The longer crux was above us, and I wish we'd have gotten out a rope for a belay.!

For some more behind the scenes banter on a couple of these lines from last year, head on over to the link here.


BackYard Roots episode 1, Patience is a Virtue

The first episode of three, about backcountry skiing around the Greater Yellowstone.

This video is about patience, and avalanche awareness in the context of Cooke City.

From classic routes like the Fin, to exploratory ski mountaineering lines adjacent Yellowstone National Park.

Edited by Hennie Van Jaarsveld.

Music: produced, arranged and mixed by Mononome.

With support from: Omnibar, Mammut and Dynafit.


thoughts on the snowpack

Ahh, the old:  low probability, high consequence realm of avalanche hazard.  :)  Lots of strong 'bridging' out there, but I'm definitely still quite leery of faceted snow around the ground.  Collapsing and cracking has become rare, but Extended Column Tests continue to propagate... My two cents, one can currently get away with a Ton, but I personally don't plan to be skiing anything open and sustained over 35 degrees.  (for some time yet)

That said, the snowpack is well consolidated for early December, especially in many of the mid and lower elevations.  Down there the depth hoar has become quite saturated with the recent warm temps, and appears to be rounding and sintering well.  I'm optimistic that once the temps drop again, things might lock up, and provide excellent x-country traveling.  

As a good example, this avalanche was triggered two days ago, on a westerly aspect adjacent Daisy Pass, apparently following numerous high markings.  It's a nice reminder that even though we haven't had much new snow recently, there's a persistent weak layer lurking (potentially on all aspects and elevations).

photo by Anon (via the GNFAC)


Town Hill is in

Golden sunshine and boottop powder right down to your front door.!
Sure do appreciate living in Cooke City.  (photo by Kt Miller)