Sunday, October 28, 2007

Summer Time...

A few weeks of cool weather and reliable snowfall duped many of us into believing winter-like conditions might be here to stay. After reviewing the past week's weather trends and upcoming forecast, perhaps it's time to recommend tee shirts and shorts at Paradise? WOW, what a great weekend on the mountain. Everyone enjoyed fantastic weather: warm temps, sunny skies and nice snow to carve.

But for you downhill-oriented people, the snow is melting rapidly. It's "sort of" possible to ski most of the terrain between Camp Muir and Paradise... But you'd better be a good skier and have your rock boards on if you want to get much action below Pebble Creek (7K). That is mainly because there are numerous areas where the cold white stuff is thin and the rocks are threatening. For hikers/climbers, the hut access at Camp Muir is easy and you won't need snowshoes to get there. Given the current forecast, everyone should consider sunscreen, sunglasses and lots of water along with a reliable navigation device. For more info...

I ran into a team of four mountaineers who tried to reach Ingraham Flats last Saturday (10-27) but were turned back. They found numerous crevasses and unfavorable climbing conditions (crevasses on the Ingraham, thin snow bridges, ice, etc). Another set of folks took a stab at the Kautz Glacier, but instead relied upon the ski conditions for fun.

Overall, I suspect that it's possible to get higher on the mountain, but the crevasse and ice situation remains quite dubious considering the terms. The primary problem is that many crevasses are lightly covered with snow and the chance of snow bridge collapse is real. The warm weather and sun have also brought a melt-freeze cycle to the upper snow slopes that has made the mountain icy and slick. What I'm saying is that there is little room for error/mistake, and the days are short and nights are getting long.

There are lots of questions about the road to Paradise. As of now, the road remains open 24/7 and the gate is not closed. If the weather changes dramatically, they may close the gate at Longmire for the night.