Sunday, February 9, 2014

Tin Can - 2.8.2014

The last month here has not been winter as we know it. The forecast has been filled with terms like "atmospheric river", "tropical infusion", and "veritable firehose". Unfortunately this cascade of precipitation fell largely as rain, not snow. Then it got warm. There's been a lot more basketball, running, skating, and hiking than my winter dreams normally consist of.

This weekend we thought we'd go up to the Snowbird Hut for a little adventure, but then Friday the forecast started to look promising for the Kenai. Saturday morning brought 40 cm of snow to Turnagain, calm, and bluebird. How could we resist?

Pulling into the usually swamped parking lot at Tin Can, there appeared to be only a hand full of groups that were not part of the usual avy classes. Awesome. Anchorage had forgotten that it's winter.

Approaching treeline:

At treeline we watched several slides release from remote triggers several hundred meters away.

More signs of instability:

We figured we'd let the other groups play guinea pig and while we started with a lap of blower in the trees.

After sharing several absolutely incredible ginger snaps at the bottom we headed back up. Reaching treeline, no more avalanche activity had occurred up high despite a bit of skier traffic. We weren't going to pass it up. The boys waiting at the top:

Yep, that's good:

Alex likes to go fast. So when things go wrong, such as, perhaps, a lurking raincrust...

...its very exciting to watch.

Malcolm threading the needle between a couple small slabs:

At the bottom of our second lap the secret was starting to get out about the snow. It was time to go higher -  lets go there!

Photo: Robert McNown

Nothing like a fun ridge hike!

Photo: Robert McNown

O yeah that's good.

Photo: Robert McNown

So good, in fact, better get back up there and do it one more time:

With the sun creeping towards the horizon, the shadows getting longer, and a beautiful translucent cloudscape hanging in the valley below it was time for one more skin to the top before a long run back to the car. 5 PM, fresh tracks, and still not down yet:

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