Observation – 3/31/2014 – Marion/Dickey Creek drainages, Middle Fork, Flathead Range

Name: Steven Zwisler
Date: 3/31/14
Time: 1000 – 1400
Location: Marion/Dickey ridge
Activity: Skiing

Skinned up the Marion trail which was made easier by 2-3 ” of new snow and two skiers ahead of us. We climbed up on our own track to the ridge in the forest on the south facing slope. The sun which was out most of the time was transforming the slope causing me to feel like I was crushing grapes at a Fall festival. However, shaded areas still had powder snow. There were no auditory or visual alarms. It was cool and we commented on the fact that the tree ice cycles were not dripping. The north face off the Essex ridge had some sloughing in the open steep areas and we noted an old skin track and a descent line. We skied the long descent to the Dickey Road known locally as Telegraph Hill. It was powder to 5,000 ft skier’s right in the shade, then a supportable crust to 4,800 ft, and then trap crust to the road. It was 40 degrees when we left Essex. We saw no avalanche activity on the north facing run. There was no wind slab formation where we skied though we were looking for it.