Kluane Lake Reconnaissance

Alonzo Butler

We skinned through the trees into the alpine and up to the summit of the peak adjacent to Outpost Mountain (to the west, between Outpost Mountain and Sheep Mountain) on Sunday, March 7th. We rode a fairly mellow, east-facing couloir down into the drainage between the two peaks, then skinned back up to the summit and rode our skin track back down through the alpine, then through the woods and out to the truck. We were out from 10:00 AM to about 6:00 PM. Overall, the snowpack out that way is very thin, and the alpine snow is quite variable. While we had a nice 6-8 inches of powder sitting atop harder snow on the mellow, north-facing ascent and decent, there were areas on the east-facing slopes in which the snow depth was only a few inches. We both struck rocks while riding a couple of times. There was also pretty widespread wind slab, so we managed accordingly while touring, spread out, kept off steep slopes and convexities, and just ran a mellow program overall. There was about 95 cms of snow in the woods, but the bottom was hollowed out and the whole pack is heavily faceted below the top 15 inches or so. Our objective was to get a good look at Outpost, which we did, and it is very, very boney right now, with almost no snow. There was exposed rock everywhere, and it was not tempting in the least. We saw a couple of small, days-old avalanches on east-facing slopes, but nothing of note. Man, it sure is pretty out that way, though. We're lucky to live here.

Snow conditions were: Hard, Powder. Weather conditions were: Cold, Sunny. We rode: Alpine slopes, Dense trees, Mellow slopes, Sunny slopes. We avoided: Convex slopes, Steep slopes. Riding quality was good.