TR: "Sol Vista" Backcountry 12/12/2015
I've long wanted to explore the "Sol Vista" backcountry. Or somewhere close to there. Kinda. It's one of those places you hear about but nobody will say where it is. After piecing together some fragmented information and pouring over a topo, I was pretty sure I had figured it out. So I rounded up Zach and Chris and went out exploring on the sled.
A quick skin brought us to the top of the zone. A quick glance at the terrain revealed some concerns. The lines were steep, with a major convexity on top, and many small trees to serve as trigger points, and larger trees to hit in the runouts. However, I suspected that a long period of stable weather and lack of significant recent snowfall might have resulted in minimal slab development. We dug a pit to confirm or deny our hypothesis.
We found exactly what I hoped for - a largely stable snowpack where the ~4" of new snow was reactive on a slight crust, but below that, the snowpack consisted entirely of unconsolidated facets. Bad for future stability, but with essentially no slab, good for current stability. We would still need to approach the terrain with caution, but the snowpack structure was encouraging for the day.
I'm pretty much going to let the photos do the talking from here. We ended up doing three laps, all of which were phenomenal. The snow skied bottomless despite only 4" of fresh.
Zach (who is to thank for many of these awesome photos):
The skintrack was steep and putting it in was a bitch, as we sank deep into the faceted layers. After the first lap it was much easier, and on our final climb, the clouds parted slightly to reveal a tease of the [censored] Range.
After our final climb, Zach and Chris got to enjoy one more quick run while I collected the snowmobile. Fantastic day, gentlemen!