Craig's Report - November 10, 2004
There is now exactly one month left until the scheduled opening day; lots of time for the depressing green around the house to turn to a nice deep white. Still it would be encouraging to get a layer or two down here to set the mood. However it isn't time to get nervous yet - that will be next week.
The stupidity of the day was the decision that a walk up North Ridge would be nice. Now North Ridge is a black run, but we all know it is a pretty wussy black, even compared to some of our more, um, robust blue runs. However its steepness seemed more than sufficient today as I struggled up its icy surface. The rain of last weekend not only pushed the snow line higher up, it generated a nice crust up at least as far as the top of Bear. Yesterday that crust had proven nicely breakable and provided easy climbing up Bear, but today the crust on North Ridge easily supported my weight most of the time and was quite slick. Yet another object lesson in fast changing conditions.
While there were some ugly deep foot holes from someone's previous trip in softer conditions, I probably would have turned back if I hadn't recently acquired of what are essentially slip on chains for my boots. I had been looking for a light, convenient and cheap alternative to the overkill of crampons and these worked surprisingly well, although I suspect this was well outside their intended design and perhaps the bounds of sanity as well.
While more snow is certainly needed up top, it seems that there is an excellent base to build on. A nice dump on top, once stabilised, would be sufficient for some great alder dodging runs. Of course something to get you home would be nice, but fortunately the bottom runs are smooth and don't require much to get them ready.
At 17:10 it is 1 C and clear at the house.