Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Power of a Second Go: Scouting and hillmap

Our second trip summiting Diamond Head, this route was much more fun
I've had some awesome, successful ventures on the first go 'round....but even more on my second try.  When I know what I'm getting into I am better prepared, more efficient and am personally familiar with the route finding.

Nothing beats boots on the ground for learning an area.

I often like to call my first attempt "scouting".  Scouting is a great word that transforms a day that falls short of my goal and could otherwise feel like failure into a day that prepares me to reach my goal on another day or helps me discover a more interesting goal.

Scouting in the Chiwawa River Basin
Hillmap's mapping and path analysis tools does some of my scouting for me.  I am successful on the first try more often after studying my route in detail....but not always.  Tools like the slope analysis, satellite view and snowpack data build upon information I've culled from route descriptions and trip reports to give me a more detailed picture of my trip.

Ryan and I attempted to ski Mill Point this weekend, but did not reach our objective.  Yep, I felt bummed.  But I will return!  You can hold me to it.

What went wrong?  I was unprepared for the trail conditions in combination with the weather.  I looked at the satellite photos, but couldn't tell the miles of blow downs from a passable trail.  Now I know what acres of blown down trees look like on the satellite image.

I  now dub this trip a scouting trip!

While up on the ridge we saw a potentially better trail on the next ridge South....looks like we could skin up a forest service road that will meet up with our original line.

If you look closely you can see a road on the far ridge

Here's the hillmap of the ridge in question.  Looks like the road is semi-visible on the satellite image, although not present on the topo map.

I'll report back when we've skied Mill Point, but I will wait until the snow conditions favor the ascent.  Might be next season.

Success on the second go: North Early Winter Spire, Washington Pass


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