Outings Report: Heather Meadows Snowshoe (Conditions & Avalanche Observations)
Wednesday, April 25th, six members enjoyed a warm sunny beautiful blue-sky cloud-free day wandering the hills and slopes of Heather Meadows. The snow surface was crusty hard but grippy in the small pools of shade but for the most part was relatively firm with occasionally breaking crust and a shallow surface layer of sun warmed snow. Conditions seemed perfect for snowshoeing but none of us felt skiing would have been pleasant at this elevation. The fairly flat former ski runs (the ski resort had finished its season the previous weekend) would have made fun ski touring and skating but the skiers we encountered were all returning from higher elevations and cruising back to their vehicles. Before leaving we surveyed what will become the various Ski-to-Sea routes in about a month especially the down-hill skiers climb up the north slope of Pan Dome.
We saw our first avalanches spilling off the eastern slopes of Mt Herman as we left the parking area and throughout the day various avy slopes and “tongues” continued to grow but despite our stadium like lunch seat near the center of the basin we never got to enjoy seeing a big climax release. A large deep recent release off Table Mt had stretched almost across the basin floor and ended somewhere near the snow route and summer trail to Herman Saddle (Chain Lakes Loop).
It was a very enjoyable day and a reminder of how wonderful spring snowshoeing can be but also how important practicing proper avalanche avoidance continues to be whether snowshoeing or early season hiking. The only spooky part of the trip was driving on the highway past the steep slope just below Heather Meadows. It still has a lot of snow on it.
Wishing you wonderful Spring outings,