Archived Climbing Report - May 04, 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!!!
Tuesday May 4, 2004
Reports from the past weekend were primarily from skiing and were generally good. Conditions are still as much as a month ahead of normal.
In the Sisters and Broken Top area good skiing was found all day on east and northeast slopes, including Hayden and Villard glaciers. At the end of the afternoon on Villard the surface layer up to 2-3" was wet and heavy but beneath that was a solid surface and skiing was still fine. The (limited) word on the west side slopes is that the snow has not consolidated as much as on the eastern aspects, and is not down to corn conditions.
It sounds like conditions on Mt Hood still consisted of a crust which is supportive in the early hours but softens to breakable during the morning.
There was one report of a couple skiers starting down Jefferson from the summit area.
To the south, reports from Diamond Peak and Mt Shasta both included a mixture of conditions ranging from good corn skiing to mush. On the east side of Diamond the mush can make ascending difficult. The SW bowl was reportedly in its typical good spring conditions.
Note that many thin snowpack areas such as higher ridgelines exposed to winds are beginning to melt out. Once the rock is exposed to the sun this will accelerate. This was reported at high elevations on Mt Shasta, and the SE ridge of North Sister has a large dry section at about 7500'. The snow on the moraines below the Dillard Glacier are looking a bit dark colored with dirt and dust already. So far this is limited to wind exposed areas and is not significantly limiting the skiing opportunities.
Approaches below 5500-6000' are spotty, count on walking up to a level somewhere in that range based on information from the Sisters and Diamond Peak areas.
Outlook - While good conditions persisted through Monday the weather is changing. A system of low pressure along or just off the coast is bringing cooler temperatures and some cloudiness across the region through the week. Snow levels will be down to pass and trailhead levels mid-week, although there seems to be very limited moisture. The forecast for later in the week and the weekend are for higher chances of precipitation and slowly rising snow levels as the low pressure system moves inland in some form. There is a lot of disagreement and uncertainty over the fate of this low, with some predictions carrying a lot of it more northerly while others predict the low pressure trough pinching off and sending a distinct low across the region after some dissipation. Expect a lot of variation through the weekend with scattered clouds, lower temperatures, and increasing chances of precipitation towards the weekend. Follow the forecast since it is likely to change as the week progresses.
The colder temperatures and cloud cover will probably not be as conducive to corn snow formation, but things should firm up pretty well for climbing as long as the amount of moisture and chances of showers are low. The east side will probably be mostly dry and a bit less cloudy as this pattern won't force a whole lot over the crest.