Editor’s note: For information about skiing around Marble, Colorado please see BackcountrySkiingCO.com
As you all can assume, Marble has been getting pounded. J.H and I went up this am for some assessment and observation and of course, some pow chowing. Big surprise, things are tender and sketchy. But perhaps not as tender as we thought. We had good visibility in between periods of light to heavy snowfall and saw no evidence of any natural slides. We got two small whumps ascending Shale Bluffs and no cracking. As far as snow pack, it has tripled in the last week. Settled snow depth and the base of the bowl is 60 inches.
We dug a pit on the east face just above on a slope approaching 30 degrees and that had a snow depth of 72 inches. We did not ascend above the base of the bowl. The pit was discouraging. 3 clean shears were found at approximately 15 inches 28 inches and 40 inches all going in succession with 2-4 taps. There is a dust layer 2 inches high at approximately 36 inches. Below the 40 inch mark the snow is faceted grains, maybe 2 mm in diameter, that provide a weak base but are fairly dense.
Conclusion? J. and I both are surprised there were no naturals and feel that the pack is a hair trigger waiting to go. We did not ski anything steeper than 30 Degrees except for those few rollers around shale bluffs. Shale bluffs seems safe enough now but as always needs to be respected. As far as the skiing, it is superb. Seasons first real face shots. This is a great time to get out and ski some dense trees or small benign pockets. Even from the study plot down the skiing is excellent with fabulous coverage and blower snow.