Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Tincan Proper Ski - 3.8.2015

Updated 1.22.2019 to include another great day on Proper.

One of the key components of weather forecasting are trends. When consecutive model runs consistently report a storm is coming, confidence in the storm increases. When one run forecasts sun and the next run forecasts snow, confidence decreases.

Twenty Mile to the North, so much fun doing so many things up there.

As March arrived the models started to forecast a storm for the night of the 6th. Each model run confirmed the storm, and even started to increase its size. There was a catch, too much snow and the stability balance would tip. When I went to bed at midnight on the 6th it still wasn't snowing at Hatcher, and the radar showed the moisture way down the Cook Inlet. Were the model trends wrong?
We warmed up in Common Bowl, Matt deemed it a success.

I woke up at 2 AM to check the Independence Mine webcam. Drifts were already forming: windslabs would be a problem. At 6 AM, Independence mine had 8 inches of new snow and the radar and webcams confirmed that heavy orographic precipitation was still in full affect at Hatcher.

Beginning to feel better about the snowpack, we jumped over to Hippy Bowl.

Hatcher was out of the cards, I decided to go to work. Fortunately, Matt convinced me to get out of town on Sunday. With an uncertain forecast, we headed for Turnagain Pass, not sure what we would find. Hippy Bowl was better than Common Bowl, and more importantly, no wind affect. Obviously, Tincan Proper was next

Given a smooth bed surface, there would be moving snow. We picked a long spine to shed the snow away from us. I dropped first, watching my slough cascade beside me.

Matt brought up the rear. The dude is an athlete, these days he rides 10 days a year, might as well be 100, I love watching him go.

A look back at Proper.

With a brinner potluck to attend, Matt and I decided to call it a day. But not without a bit of daydreaming about the Library and Kickstep.

In late March of 2017, Charlie, Gabe, Nathan and I returned to Proper. Charlie had a rare break from residency and was feeling frothy for a fast day, so shortly after leaving the Tincan parking lot we were standing on top and looking into the Portage zone. Lots of incredible memories there including the Skookum, Carpathian, and Byron.

When Kate and I skied Proper the other night, it only took 1.5 hours to the top. Next time we're shooting for under an hour. From the top we peered over the edge into the north face and beyond at Eddies and Wolverine. Charlie:

Nathan dropped first into the shaded and steep wall of M4.

We surfed the double-fall line, letting our slough pour away and into the gut to the left. Gabe:

As the line choked into the deep gully of debris and bed surface we traversed back onto the face and skied bonus alder spines. The other day we tried this same move - with this year's high rain lines, the alder spines had turned into alder cliffs. Sorry Kate!

At Ingram Creek we ate lunch and transitioned for the climb up and through the Eddies spines.

From previous wanderings (and browsing Google Earth at work), I suspected that the weakness forming the the Eddies north chutes would continue through to the south side and provide a connection. Once under what seemed like the right chute we booted towards it. Nathan:

We stemmed, high-stepped, and crawled over the cornice, and voila, popped onto a little perch at the top of the next north line:

Across Wolverine Creek we looked at the imposing west wall of spines on Wolverine. I remember skiing that with Mike and Waldo back in the day. I'd still love to link that up with a few other lines in the area.

As we leap-frogged down the line, I looked back up to watch Charlie ripping the edge and practicing perfect slough management.

Then he zipped past and disappeared around the corner.

I chased after him, and we looked up to see Nathan zooming through the complex terrain next to our chute. So much to ski back here.

At the bottom is was time for the med-school boys to get back to work, but not before a wet misadventure down the ravine on the egress. Lesson learned, exit the valley before it turns into a series of waterfalls. Admittedly, maybe we've learned this lesson before.

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