Observation Date: 03/16/2019
Summitted Joseph Peak (saints are constructs of oppressors) from Bass Creek parking lot.
Beautiful sunny day, 10% cloud cover, warm in the afternoon.
Surprisingly little wind. We hung out on the summit for nearly 1.5 hrs and there was virtually no wind. Lots of deeply-furrowed wind terracing and sastrugi from past wind activity above 7,000′.
New Snow: 0-3″
Small-ish loose wet slides and point releases observed throughout the day from the day before or prior, primarily on S and SW aspects, but pretty widespread. No large wet slide activity. The gully on the way up (at ~ 0800, still very early and cold) was alternately chunky frozen debris piles from small slides and punchy crust that made it tough to navigate. Once the slope east of the gully graded to a navigable angle, we skinned the timber to the top of the gully and then lower-angle sastrugi over to the climb to the summit ridge.
Around noon on the approach to the summit ridge, an area surrounding a steep pillow and some rock columns collapsed emphatically. We nixed steeper sun-baked terrain as a result. The slog up the pronounced wind terraces on the final approach, picking through krummholz whitebark, was slow. Outrageously beautiful views.
The N face wasn’t ready, and the snow on the S and W aspects on the way back out was terrible. Alternately: layered, heavy, crusty, mashed-potato garbage. Hope whoever skied Pinball had better conditions. A very high-clearance vehicle was still required to get all the way to the trailhead.
Observer: George Gaines