Bariloche, Argentina Backcountry Report: Wind-Swept Beauty

Miles Clark | BackcountryBackcountry | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Bariloche had a big, sunny wind storm yesterday.  It closed down the ski resort for most the day.  It buffed things out a bit and definitely pressed the snow down.  I didn’t see any snow today that wasn’t wind affected in some way.

Miles dropping into the upper spines of Alaskita.  photo:  Skylar Holgate
Miles dropping into the upper spines of Alaskita. photo: Skylar Holgate

I headed back out to Alaskita today.  On the ski out there, I ran into the SGT crew.  SGT is a ski/snowboard camp here in Bariloche that guides skiers and riders both inbounds and out.  Today, they did a sweet tour.

Alaskita.  photo taken on August 4th, 2014
Alaskita. photo taken on August 4th, 2014

Alasita Run = Short Spines, Big Convex Face, to Fingers & Chutes.

I made it to the top of Alaskita in about an hour after an uneventful ski and skin.  The views today were precisoa.  Temperatures were on the warm side and winds were very light out there.

Looking down the upper spines of Alaskita today.
Looking down the upper spines of Alaskita today.

The upper spine section of Alaskita held some ok snow.  It wasn’t until I started dropping off stuff that it felt weird.  Not the best snow for landing in, but it worked.  Just need steep landings and you needed to avoid the punch-front-flip, which I nearly accomplished.

Amazing wind swept backcountry terrain in Bariloche, Argentina.
Amazing wind swept backcountry terrain in Bariloche, Argentina.

The convexity was weird and punchy but fun in spots and you couldn’t help but go fast. The fingers weren’t bad.  The ice bulges from last week had softened a touch and the snow between them was actually pretty slarvy.  I enjoyed the fingers more than anything else today.  Below the fingers, the fields of glory runout is nothing but rock hard avalanche debris.  I skipped that part.

Lake Nahuel Huapi and Isles and Mt. Bella Vista.
Lake Nahuel Huapi and Isles and Mt. Bella Vista.

AVALANCHE OBSERVATIONS:

The upper mountain snow was definitely hollow in patches.  Some zones had a 6 inch deep hard slab that had a softer layer under it.  Definitely drummy and felt weird in spots.  Saw some small, isolated cracking in one area in that top 6″ deep wind slab.  Besides that, the snow felt pretty wind-beaten and well bonded.  Didn’t find any soft slabs anywhere.  Didn’t find any truly soft snow.  I saw many old avalanche debris from the warm storm on August 1st.  I saw no recent avalanche activity.

Catedral ski resort and Lake Nahuel Huapi in Bariloche, Argentina
Catedral ski resort and Lake Nahuel Huapi in Bariloche, Argentina

BARILOCHE FORECAST:

The forecast is showing snow, rain, and wind for this weekend.  Hopefully this changes to all snow…

Bariloche, Argentina Forecast
Bariloche, Argentina Forecast

PHOTO TOUR:

The Van Titter Valley.  Bariloche, Argentina.
The Van Titter Valley. Bariloche, Argentina.
Many a tower around here.  SGT crew skinning back home.
Many a tower around here. SGT crew skinning back home.
Long bony lines in the backcountry here.
Long bony lines in the backcountry here.
The lower fingers of Alaskita today.
The lower fingers of Alaskita today.
SGT campers and guides transitioning on the ridge about to ski/ride a sweet zone.
SGT campers and guides transitioning on the ridge about to ski/ride a sweet zone.
SGT camper cruising up today.
SGT camper cruising up today.
SGT warrior ripping down in the Bariloche backcountry today
SGT warrior ripping down in the Bariloche backcountry today

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