Uncle Buds to 10th Mt Hut 12/19/2010

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Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:12 pm

Uncle Buds to 10th Mt Hut 12/19/2010

Post by chealey »

While we did not make the crossing, we did obtain some potentially useful snowpack info from the ridgetop about half a mile north of UBH where the "trail" drops into porcupine gulch. First of all, there is no discernable trail, and the blaze marks on the trees are hard to see after a snowfall. The trail crosses the ridgetop and bears NW across an open slope of increasing steepness for a 1/4 mile. We dug a snowpit at the southern margin of this slope. Incidentally, this slope is one of the two areas mentioned on the 10th Mt Website where avalanche activity has been documented.

Our pit showed a total snow depth of 3.5 ft. The top 13" were new wet powder resting on a weak granular layer of 1" thickness. Beneath the granular layer the pack was firm and well consolidated but rested on a 2" granular layer just above the ground. A snow column shear test confirmed that the failure point was at a depth of ~13". While in the area there were numerous cracks observed, and many instances of noisy snow Settling events. We did not attempt to cross this slope and did not observe any slide activity from our safe spot. That night another foot of wet powder fell at UBH so be careful.

Sorry if my details are fuzzy but Im not trained in this stuff.
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Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:16 pm

Re: Uncle Buds to 10th Mt Hut 12/19/2010

Post by telemama »

We made this crossing with a group of 13, half 30something and half 50something, all reasonably fit and experienced, in 8 hours on 2/17/2013. Some of the group had made the same trip in 1991 on skinny skis, before the blue diamonds were removed from the wilderness. We studied the route carefully and entered waypoints from hutski.com. Thanks to the idea of the previous poster, we skied up to the ridge the previous day to get a clear visual of the route. We observed lots of whumpfing and settling and were well aware of a substantial layer of depth hoar. Thanks to the waypoint we knew where we would begin the descent and measured that area at 24 degrees. On the day of travel, we found the route to be quite skiable. It required careful scouting, as the slopes on either side become too steep and are known to slide. We did not really observe any blazes. At the bottom of the slope we found some blazes, but lost them as we navigated out away from the avy path, across Porcupine Gulch, and up toward the lakes. We followed the drainage from the lakes down and hit the Colorado Trail. From the ridge above UB's to the CT we did not follow blazes nor find any tracks. Once on the CT we had blazes and old ski tracks, so less snow to break. This is a fast and fun descent to Long Gulch and the wilderness boundary. For the rest of the trip we had blue diamonds and some intermittent broken trail. The first steep climb after leaving the CT is steep indeed. We did not think any of the descents worth removing skins. The only slightly tricky navigation was across the larger meadow portion of Tennessee Creek where it is quite gumbled up by snowmobiles. Getting across to the trees we lost all packed trail and broke through to hoar and willows. As in 1991, the small lake 1/2 mile before the hut holds water on the top layer and will get your skins wet. This is the most beautiful trail in the system (we have skied them all) and a challenging trip. We would not do it after a big storm, nor with low visibility, and never in reverse.
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