Posted by csmphotos on December 31, 2009
If you haven’t had a chance to get out and enjoy the snow at night, get out before the moon disappears. I finally made it out last night to do some night shots of the ski area. Dave and I skinned up to the ridge and I spent a couple hours on top in the cold taking some night scenes. Although the photos aren’t in the backcountry my hope is to inspire people to take advantage of the moon, if you haven’t yet. No headlamps necessary! I dropped in on the West Bowl sign line: the snow conditions are 3-4 inches of dry sugar cane on top of a stiff layer, which eventually gradates to a layer of what can only be described as something akin to mom’s overcooked rump roast, mmm mmm chewy, that quickly leads to a mix of barely able to get an edge-in and straight up ice. So what if the conditions aren’t perfect, even if its a quick skin up Eaglecrest, what better way to ring in the New Year than under the stars and a full moon. Happy New Year.
Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »
Posted by k8skis on December 24, 2009
After a couple days of hitting up Eaglecrest and feeling like we had skied all there was to ski, minus some groomer laps, my brother Kanaan, Chris and I decided to give Cropley Chutes a go on a quest to seek out some untracked snow. We rendezvoused at the parking lot at a bright 8:30, early for my standards (sorry, not old enough yet for the 5 am jaunts) and made our way up the platter and into the trees. As you may know, the skin through the trees up to Bunnytoe Pass can be a bit sketchy but after a quick boot and some technical skinning (try wedging your powder basket between a tree branch to pull yourself over some big gaping holes) we made it above the trees.
Kaitlyn skins through the trees up to Bunnytoe Pass
Once we got above the trees it was a relatively quick skin up to the top, with a stop at an already dug out snow pit. Kanaan cut it back and did some shovel shear tests to check out the snow pack on the northeast facing slopes of Mt. Stewart (Wedding Bowl). We noticed two major rain layers with sugary snow in between and some surface hoar facets on top of the latest crust. We concluded that they could lead to some potentially weak layers in the snow pack. We also observed some Northerly gusts of wind on the summit. We decided we would go to the top and check out the snow pack on the SE side of Stewart (Cropley Chute side) and make our decision on the descent from there.
Kaitlyn and Kanaan skin up Mt. Stewart with Stewart Extreme looming above
Kanaan analyzes the snowpack
After preparing for the decent, Kanaan dug a hasty pit on the Eastside of Stewart, some weak layers were noticed but it was decided that the penetration was probably minimal enough to ski Cropley Chute. We entered through skier’s left and sought out the soft pockets through the crust charging just enough to stay on top and not succumb to the death cookies towards the bottom.
Kaitlyn and Kanaan prepare to drop in
Kanaan looks on while Kaitlyn makes some turns
Kanaan getting the goods
Kaitlyn enjoying the much sought after pow
We regrouped at the trees below and made our way towards the lake and back to the car. All in all an awesome way to welcome the light back and celebrate the first day of Winter!
All photos by Chris Miller
Posted in Mt. Stewart, Photos | 3 Comments »
Posted by juneaubackcountry on December 19, 2009
Avalanche Awareness Programs
Free and open to the public — Advance registration required for field sessions
These free programs are offered through the Alaska Avalanche School in Anchorage and are funded by the State of Alaska Reach and Teach Grant. This grant is geared towards educating the general public as to avalanche avoidance, recognition, and hazard evaluation and awareness. The funding received goes directly into putting on FREE PROGRAMS to the general public.
Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center
Saturday, January 23, 7-9:30 pm, Lecture part 1
Sunday, January 24, 10 am – noon, Lecture part 2
Sunday, January 24, 12:30 – 4:30 pm, Field session
-Thanks for the info Ray.
Posted in Events | Leave a Comment »
Posted by avidude on December 18, 2009
We received over 1″ of rain in the the last 24 hours here in the valley. We have also seen quite a bit of warming during that time. Winds have remained strong.
What was fragile is now dangerous in places. Avalanche danger has gone from Severe to HIGH!
There should be some good turns in the new snow in places this weekend. But be extremely cautious and choose your lines wisely.
You wouldn’t find me in the hills without my tranceiver, probe, and shovel, as well as a good personal knowledge of backcountry conditions and rescue skills.
Watch out for avalanches over the next few days!
Posted in East Chutes, Fishcreek Knob, Fred Meyer Bowl, Mt. Stewart, Showboat | 2 Comments »
Posted by csmphotos on December 17, 2009
After all the sun and blue bird days, we are back to our normal Southeast Winter weather. The beginning of the system that moved in yesterday didn’t bring as much snow as I had hoped. The skin up the lower mountain showed little new snow maybe an inch or two in spots. With the heavens quickly closing in Kanaan and I decided to try Showboat for a quick early morning run. We had been eying a few lines in the alders from the parking lot, so we decided to give it a go, over the disappearing West Ridge. The wind picked up out of the East to Southeast, consistent with the forecast, as we ascended through the lookers right trees of Showboat. We began to traverse over the ridge to link up with the lines we had scoped from the lot. The wind was definitely moving snow and depositing it on West facing slopes. It seems clear that wind loading is occurring and that a weak bonding layer exists resulting in slabbing (see photos below).
After doing a little investigating of the snow pack we moved on to our alder filled goal. The snow in the Showboat alders was more consistent and stable than the wind loaded ridge. The skiing was fast and fun the whole way down.
The run spit us out right below the base of the Ptarmigan chair, and with minimal hiking we made it down to the parking lot. The precipitation was moving in and out from a thick snain to snow. Its shaping up to a be a good weekend. Be careful out there.
Posted in Photos, Showboat | 4 Comments »
Posted by Shea on December 15, 2009
As many of you know the last storm cycle brought some great snow to Juneau, but by the end of the day on Sunday, December 6th, most of it had been gobbled up by the plethora of local ski and snowboard enthusiasts. Juneau is rich with a diverse population that loves snowsports, but that often means that the powder soon disappears.
With little time during the day due to work or family constraints, a group of us has been pretty dedicated this season to exploring Juneau’s backcountry by headlamp. There are quite a few crazy skiers and boarders in town that spend their evenings in such practice. This post is a dedication to all of you that get out whenever you can; whether it is for pre-dawn patrol or an after-work run.
On Tuesday the 8th of December, Ray, Tim and I headed out for another evening raid. The cooler weathers had definitely hardened the snowpack, but we knew that there was some pow left to be found. In fact, the day before we had skinned up towards the Wedding Bowl and discovered Fred Meyer bowl to be untracked! That was unheard of…so here are some photos on the way to Fred Meyer bowl that very next evening. Enjoy!
Not a single track in sight! Fred Meyer bowl all to ourselves...
...and that calls for celebration!
More night skiing action to come so stay tuned…
Posted in Fred Meyer Bowl, Photos | 1 Comment »
Posted by juneaubackcountry on December 12, 2009
A good sized group of skiers and boarders skinned and booted up Fishcreek Knob. The clouds/fog came in and out the whole morning. Once we reached the summit we were able to see our own shadows in a sundog, unfortunately it was so small and the contrast so low that I couldn’t capture it. On the first descent we encountered a fairly set-up crust with variable powder on the first 1/3 of the descent, that eventually gave way to fast dry powdery turns. When we reconnected with the skin track we decided that we couldn’t resist dropping off the north-side into the trees. The trees held some of the best turns of the day, despite the lower 1/3 being fairly icy/crusty making for a workout of an exit. All-in-all another great day in the BC.
P.S. If you’d like to see all the edited shots from the day here’s the link: www.csmphotos.com/gallery/winter0910/121109/index.html
Posted in Fishcreek Knob, Photos | Leave a Comment »
Posted by juneaubackcountry on December 10, 2009
Took a late afternoon skin up to Eaglecrest to checkout the snow conditions and it definitely needs more of it. It was misting the whole skin up to East Chutes. The snow has softened a little with the warming of the temperature, but overall everything is very tracked out in Hourglass, Middle, and Far Chutes. The main point of heading up was to screw around with my video camera so here’s a short 3 min. movie of the drive, skin, and some shakey footage coming down (link below). I was hoping to rig the camera to my snowboard, but unfortunately suction cups and the cold don’t mix.
P.S. This is the link to the video on my vimeo page: http://www.vimeo.com/8113844, if you want to watch it in HD.
Posted in East Chutes, Video | 2 Comments »
Posted by csmphotos on December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 7th, 2009:
Another beautiful day up on the mountain, mostly bluebird with some high clouds. After the ‘crest got hammered by people yesterday Kaitlyn, Kanaan, Ted, and I decided to hit up the backside of Hogsback and then skin up the side of Mt. Stewart for a back-to-back. After a leisurely skin over the West Ridge we dropped off the backside of the Hogsback saddle into shallow patches of drifted snow and wind hammered features. The skin up and out of the gully between Hogsback and Stewart was difficult at times, as we were side-hilling across steep wind-scoured features with a loose layer of fine powder. Despite a few set backs we made it to the first section of shoots heading down the lookers left side of Stewart. From the top we were able to observe the backside of Stewart, just about every south-westerly face was wind hammered, much like what we experienced on the backside of Hogsback. The descent down Stewart was fast and smooth through snow that was about 3 inches of powder on top of a firm and stable layer. We popped out above Cropley Lake and made our way back to Eaglecrest proper to call it a day.
Posted in Mt. Stewart, Photos | Leave a Comment »
Posted by juneaubackcountry on December 7, 2009
The Juneau Backcountry(JBC) Blog is a place for those who enjoy long powdery runs full of effortless turns to people looking to drop the gnarliest crag covered line they can find, to brag, connect, educate, and share their exploits in Juneau’s world class backcountry terrain. As a BC rider or skier you are a member of ski community within a ski community and to-date a forum has not existed for us to connect with each other and share our relentless desire to achieve the perfect line, whether it is through the reward of a long skin or via snow machine or heli. There are lots of lines out there so ride hard and always remember safety first; its better to turn back today and ride hard tomorrow, than never ride again.
Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »