Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Emmons-Winthrop Route 6/19

Ski tracks down the Emmons 6/20

On Friday the 17th, 2-4 inches of snow fell above 7400 feet that did not consolidate well to the underlying surface. Saturday the 18th, winds picked up and the sun came out in the afternoon and the small amount of snow seemed to have blown away or consolidated. Sunday and Monday was the start of our first real high pressure cycle with sunny skies and moderate winds. Over the weekend multiple parties had success in reaching the summit, most of which involved ski descents.

A route to the summit on the Emmons

The Emmons is filled in well for this time of year and the route is very direct. Minimal avalanche danger was observed, although this may change with the increasing freezing levels. Old wind slabs were present, but shallow and non-reactive. There was a mixture of firm sections, soft wind blown snow about a foot deep, and punchy wind drifted snow. Sagging snow bridges exist from 11000' to 13000' feet, something to keep an eye on as the temperatures increase.

Variable snow conditions on the Corridor

Wind blown snow surface with a distant view of the Prow

The approach to Camp Schurman has some challenges as well. Ascending the Inter Glacier, parties that did not have floatation (skis/snowshoes), postholed more than expected. Patchy snow still exists on the trail after about 1.5 miles. The creek crossing at Glacier basin may also be flowing higher than usual with the higher temperatures and increased snow melt. Be aware of rising water levels as temperatures rise throughout the weekend.

View of Russel Cliffs from just below the bergschrund

We might be turning the corner on winter and finally getting a glimpse of summer. As the freezing levels continue to remain high, avalanche hazard still remains. Evidence of past large avalanches are reminders on both the Emmons and the Winthrop. Many wet loose avalanches were spotted on the way up to and around Camp Schurman. The photo below shows wet loose avalanches off the south side of the Prow.