Matt our Colorado correspondent wrote:
>Books I read and people I hear all talk about the importance of early
>starts, but actual
>experience this summer has taught me otherwise. Not to spark a great
>debate, I must say that once again we had perfect snow on yet another late
>afternoon adventure. Soft on top and bomber underneath. Summer snow does
>not get any better.

 From the late spring onward it really seems to depend on a combination of
aspect, sun intensity, ambient temps., overnight low, depth of snowpack,
phase of moon, current tides, how many swallows returned to Capistrano that
year, and probably a few other things. I think a lot of the stress on early
starts is based on some key assumptions:

1) The approach / climb will be many hours long, so an early start puts you
in position to ski at 10a or noon.

2) An early start gets you up and down from the high country before the
afternoon thunderstorms. (One climber killed and 12 injured this past
weekend from a single strike on the Grand Teton, BTW).

3) There will be soft sloughs and point release slides after things heat up

Any of these can be completely invalid on a given day and a particular
objective so take it with a grain of salt. As always, YMMV, and, should any
member of your team be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any
knowledge of your actions. Good luck Mr. Phelps. This message will self
destruct in 5 seconds.

Direct link to my weblog page:

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