Archived Climbing Report - April 16, 2004
These reports were summaries based on reports from climbers and skiers, weather and avalanche reports, and prior experiences. Observations are sparse and conditions vary widely throughout the Cascades as well as with elevation and aspect on any particular mountain. The intent of these reports is to give a starting point for what to expect - but your safety and that of your partners relies on your own observations and decisions!
These reports are archives and are saved for reference only - they do not apply at this time!!!
Friday April 16, 2004
Very little new first-hand information since last weekend. The weather has been cool and wet and is forecast to remain so indefinitely for the most part.
This weeks low pressure trough wasn't quite as dry as it first looked and some snow has accumulated throughout the week. Reports for pass elevations vary from a trace to a couple inches, reports from Timberline and Bachelor indicate 10 inches or more from 6000' up. This is most like highly variable throughout the range and even within relatively small areas. This is not a lot of snow to cause any widespread avalanche concerns but areas of windslab may exist above treeline. Such areas can remain stable for long periods of time in cool cloudy weather and suddenly react very quickly to direct sunlight this time of year. In any areas of heavier deposition on steeper slopes the bonding to the old melt-freeze crust should be considered. Note that Mt Bachelor was conducting avalanche control work Friday morning and that fresh avalanches with 10" crowns were reported on Mt Shasta.
The weather outlook for the weekend and beyond is pretty much more of the same. The models have been in constant disagreement as short as 48 hours out, and different forecast office discussions have been drawing different conclusions. As of Friday afternoons forecasts the weekend is predicted to be showery as weak systems move through both Saturday and Sunday. Chances of precipitation are in the 20-30% range, but showers seem almost certain at times during both days. Possibly including thunderstorms. Later Monday a stronger system is now expected which will bring the remnants of a decaying tropical storm in the western pacific.
Climbing plans should be considered carefully right now. While the old snow surface is probably set up firm and good for climbing on it may be covered by up to a foot or more of recent snow up high. Also keep in mind that the length of any clear spell is highly uncertain, so consider whether a retreat will be possible and whether your party will be able to implement it in poor visibility if necessary. Be prepared to wait out some strong but relatively short lived squalls. Assume you are climbing into a storm, no matter how nice it may be when you set out. (Keep in mind that on Monday sometime things may take a bigger turn for the worse.)
Skiing may be good in some areas. Below 5500' or so the underlying base of old snow was very spotty prior to anything new falling. Above treeline there will be the lingering questions of clouds, precipitation, and visibility. The quality of new snow this time of year tends to deteriorate quickly in many areas. However, there are probably some sheltered areas at intermediate elevations where good skiing can be found. There were reports of some very good skiing on Mt Shasta recently with only 5-10" of snow to freshen things up.
Road access is up to about 5000' or so in most areas right now. Pole Creek is reportedly open up to approximately the last one mile.
The moon is waning with 8% illumination Friday, Monday is the New Moon. Sunrise is about 0630 and sunset is about 2030.
This report was first prepared very late Thursday night (15) and updated Friday afternoon (16) to reflect yet more changes in the weather outlook as well as a few reports on skiing at Shasta and avalanches both there and Bachelor.