March 8, West shoulder of Red Mt.

Greg with Mt. Rainier in the distance

Kevin with the north facing chute right behind

Nice turns - West shoulder of Red Mt.

Greg kicks off some pinwheels

Greg and I headed out to try and circumnavigate Red Mt.  I think I have been up to the chute, off the north side of the west shoulder of Red Mt. three times now, and have yet to pull the trigger and drop off into the unknown.  Today was a beautiful bluebird day with rapidly warming temperatures.  With the fresh snow lingering from Tuesday and the hot weather we were both pretty tired by the time we reached the West shoulder of Red.  Gazing at the chute off the backside, we could see the chute looked skiable, but certainly did not look pretty.   It seems to take the brunt of any North winds, not to mention the ice glazed rocks above the sides of the chute.   It didn't take much imagination to envision a hard layer of ice under a thin layer of wind buffed snow.  I think we were both happy to not push it, and just ski the West shoulder of Red.   Turns were okay off the top, but turned extremely sticky by the time we hit the floor of Commonwealth Valley.   We did ski cut a few slopes and enjoyed firm turns on a nice smooth base.  It's always interesting to set off a few wet snow slides and see how much momentum they pick up.  We were definitely concerned with avalanche condtions today, and expected that we would need to slide off some of the new snow on our way down, before being able to safely ski.

        Unfortunately, this evening I heard that another fellow backcountry skier had met his maker.  Steve Romeo, from Jackson Hole, was killed with his partner in an avalanche on Ranger Peak in the Tetons.  Steve was well known due to his website .  Although I did not know him personally, his website was a daily check for me, and I had emailed Steve on occasion for equipment advice.   He definitely will be missed.

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