Mt. Washington North ridge W and E Aspects

Tuesday, Apr 2, 2019 12:49 PM
Austin, Jaron, John
McKenzie Pass Area (Black Crater, Belknap, Washington) (44.336795, -121.838546)
Ob Date/Time:
Sat, Mar 2, 2019 - 12:00 PM
Report Type:
Snow Conditions
Mode of Travel:
Ski or Snowboard

Written Report:
We spent two nights camping near big lake, sledding from Ray Benson, and attempted to get near the summit (we did not plan to summit), skinning up the north ridge on Saturday. Day was very clear with clouds around the summit blowing off around noon. Cornices on the East aspect of ridge were huge some around 40ft, so we stayed a good ways back from the edge. There were a lot of rollers on all aspects of the NW bowl. We stopped to dig a pit while still in the trees on the W aspect of the ridge, before entering the NW bowl (about 6900ft, 400ft below the top of the bowl) and we were glad we did. Snow depth was deeper than our probes (240cm). The snowpack was generally one finger with pencil layers at 20cm (3cm thick) and at 30cm (6cm thick) (March 5 and 1st layers?). Both layers looked rounded but the deeper one fractured on the top surface CTM (CT14) RP. At CT18 we had multiple planer factures (see picture). At that point we decided it was not worth it to ski/board but did a quick/rough propagation test anyway and saw propagation at that same top surface of the deeper layer after 14 taps (PT14). We then skied back along the ridge to a spot where there was not cornices on the E aspect and dug another pit. We were hoping that maybe more rounding had occurred on that side. Here the hard layers were 10 and 20 cm deep and as with the first test we saw CT14 RP on top of the deeper layer. At this point we were kinda bummed that we weren't getting to ski the big bowls but went back to where the trees got thicker and the angle was low and did a few laps. Actually ended up lapping a booter of a cornice that was above a 20deg slope. Still had a great time and feel good about not putting ourselves in more danger than necessary.
Temperature: 32+°F Sky: A few clouds Wind: East @ 1-16 mph
Elevation: 6900 ft Aspect/Slope: Northwest / 35°


Caption: Multiple planer fractures CT18 on Mt. Washington NW aspect