I was with my cousin Josh this last Monday, skiing and ice climbing. We had been trying to scout out the source lake line in the Alpental Valley. While touring up, both of us had noticed a significant amount of sugary snow on top of an ice crust, that made for some miserable skinning. Every step we took was a complete struggle to either to compress the sugary snow on top or dig into the crust below. Unfortunately the source lake line wasn’t in quite yet.
As we skied down, sluff followed us, but not in the normal way that I had experienced in normal Washington conditions. There was absolutely no bonding of the sugary snow on top to the ice crust below. I briefly mentioned to my cousin that someone is going to trigger a major avalanche this week with the significant snowfall coming… We ended up skiing down from the source line carefully and ended up climbing some mellow ice lines which were a blast(josh is top roped in picture btw).
Something in the back of my mind made me worried about snow conditions, which I probably annoying expressed to my cousin and the other people who had finished climbing.
Wednesday, I saw memorials posted for one of the skiers who I really looked up to: Adam Roberts. In the back of my mind I was thinking that there is no freaking way that such a great skier could ever succumb to this fate. According to unofficialnetworks, White Pass ski patrol found him dead under 5-6ft of snow and from what I hear they had been lapping the area all day long. Even though I didn’t know Adam personally, I regarded him as a highly proficient skier and someone who inspired me to do greater things. Videos such as him skiing
have pushed myself and my friends to do more than what we think is possible. For that, we are all eternally gratefully. Thank you Adam, you have been an inspiration to many Northwest Skiers.
Adam was more than that though, I think he embodied the spirit of someone who truly enjoyed skiing as a lifestyle. I literally would see his homemade camper from Hood to Baker and pretty much anywhere in between, and would always wonder what he was up to. You would recognize his Gypsy Wagon as they call it, from a mile away :). Jason Hummel, who has skied with him significantly over the past few years, has posted some amazing pictures of his ski adventures with Adam here: https://www.facebook.com/jason.l.hummel/posts/1413473512010837
Western Washington University also had this video made about him that I think embodies his spirit the best.