Saturday, May 15, 2010

Turnagain Pass Crust Ski

May 8th, 2010.
Crust ski at Turnagain Pass: Lyons Creek, Center Ridge, Tincan Creek

I started from the Turnagain Pass trailhead at 8:30 and skied for 3 hours up Lyons Creek, over Center Ridge, and up Tincan Creek before returning to the starting point at about 11:30.  The conditions were fantastic, although the snow above 3000 feet in the Tincan drainage still hadn't converted to corn snow.  In fact, it was 4 inches of powder with a slight windslab on top.  Given the avalanche conditions, I didn't go the last half hour up to the Spencer Glacier lookout point at the top of Tincan Valley.  But most amazing was that I didn't meet or see anybody except a wolverine until about 11 o'clock when a couple of groups low in the Tincan Valley.

Heading up Lyons Creek.  Avalanche paths from daytime avalanches are aplenty.

Ptarmigans are abundant in this little visited valley.

The upper reaches of Lyons Creek.  Notice the flowing appearance of the snow; a result of high daytime temperatures and rapid melting.

Looking down the Lyons Creek drainage with Center Ridge just to the right of Lyons Creek.

Lyons Creek panorama.

After having crossed Center Ridge, Tincan Valley flats were inviting for crust cruising and the temperatures were warm enough for t-shirt and shorts.

Looking up Tincan Valley from just above timberline on Center Ridge.

Upper Tincan Valley panorama.  The mountain in the center is Tincan Peak.  The mountain raising off to the right is Kickstep Mountain.  The Spencer glacier lookout point is just left of the sun on the ridgeline.

Back at the trailhead at 11:30.  Still plenty of snow for a few more weeks of skiing.

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