Date: January 20, 2018
Trip Leaders: Joshua Philips and Susanna Girolamo
Four of us carpooled from Missoula and met up with Lauren and Justin at the lower parking lot of Stonewall Creek, outside Lincoln. We skinned from the cars, five of us on skis and one on a split-board. The area was new to four in the group and the focus was on mitigating exposure to objective hazards in avalanche terrain and how to travel safely as a group. Joshua took us out not just for a fun day of back-country riding, but to focus on terrain selection, route choice, and group travel techniques. Keeping a dialogue about safety concerns throughout the day, we explored the area and dug a pit to investigate the snow pack. In our pit we found several persistent weak layers which resulted in keeping our skiing a bit more on the conservative side. The skiing conditions were much better than expected with nice soft snow for making turns. We had 10” of new snow at 7200’ in a 280 cm snowpack.