Spring is definitely in Moab – all the license plates have turned green…
It’s also spring in the Sawatche Range – bringing volatile weather patterns, lots of snow and longer days. The CAIC (Colorado Avalanche Information Center) Website has some standardized reporting features. The easiest visual is the pie shaped Avalanche Danger Scale (AKA Wheel of Death). It fills each compartment with color ranging from green, or good, to black, which is bad. Red, Wednesday’s color, is pretty dangerous. http://avalanche.state.co.us/pub_bc_avo.php?zone_id=3
I should clarify that a dangerous avalanche forecast doesn’t mean all travel is dangerous. It means that route finding and terrain assessment have more importance, often manifesting itself in heart-breaking detours and much longer days. That said we have opted to delay our start by about a week to let the recent 18” of snow settle into more friendly stability. Zach and Fritz took the opportunity to solidify their bag of ski aerials. As of last week the double was being landed regularly but they were still having trouble sticking it with 50 lbs packs. Good thing we dumped the sleds!
I’m going to use the extra week to make a few modifications on my gear and to dial my camping and ski systems in. Water is always a challenge in cold weather. Hydration reservoirs are super in non-freezing conditions but liter bottles in insulated ‘holsters’ are the best for extended winter travel. My first project will be a gizmo that attaches an insulated bottle holder and camera/ GPS case to each side of my Quantum Pack waist belt. The bottle will fit far enough back that it won’t interfere with my skiing and the camera will be ready for quick deployment.
The weather looks better for now but the forecast could bring more of the same…. Our present thinking is a delay could help with conditions but things probably won’t get worse.
Don’t wait to enjoy the good things of each day and be thankful for the opportunity to work hard.