Unseasonaly thin ice this year - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-03-2019, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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So far the ice has been considerably thinner than other years.
I was told last months average Ice thickness over by Bethel AK was close to 25" and is usually over 36"


I know in NW Arctic there is a section on the Kobuk River that has been open all winter between Kiana and Ambler.
Ice thickness on Kobuk Lake (Hotham Inlet) is a fraction of its usual thickness in a few spots 15"
This year we just didnt have the cold temps to build Ice.
Then we were hit with a bunch of blizzardsn in one section of 6 weeks we had 17 Blizzards!
Its like we totally lost a whole months worth of ice.
Early April and its already like mid-late May




In Kotzebue sound we have some Ice up by town on down to Cape Blossom all winter long I have seen water sky from the south over by Chamisso Island to Deering is open water, Eschscholtz Bay to the Buckland river is is iced over but thin and unsafe, open water all the way from Deering to Cape Espenberg to Cape Krusenstern is a jumble of shore bound fast ice all the way up the coast to Point Hope just off shore is all open sea, no pack ice.



The bottom photo was taken a couple weeks ago, notice the blueish sky to the west in the background?
Thats open water about 14 miles out.
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Last edited by Rex in OTZ; 04-03-2019 at 04:43 PM.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-03-2019, 03:10 PM
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first link live by hightech snowmobile die qucker by one/ snowmobile
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-03-2019, 03:16 PM
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The weather New Year's Eve was calm, and the hole was marked with blue reflective tape, but open water can look indistinguishable from the surrounding glare ice, especially at nigh
what the he*l ? BLUE tape did they hardware store run out of yellow caution tape
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-04-2019, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Reflective tape that was blue.
It still reflects.
But was it Visible?
When on snowmobile teails its normal practice to set warnings out before you hit a pressure ridge or unsafe ice.
Its fine and great, maybe even visible at 9pm for a one-up snowmobiler in good weather.

But pulling a family sled full of people at night on glare ice, and it is bethel where the wind blows, mix in some blowing snow raises its own set of issues at 9pm on a river full of holes.
He was not traveling fast.
The normal one-up rider snowmobile with its headlight normally on the trail is now pointed way up in the air when riding 2-up and pulling a sled with close to 400 lbs or more , that rear suspension would have been fully collapsed.
That headlight would have been like a hollywood search light up in the sky and no where close to that blue reflective tape set at 36" it would not have been able to make out low lying markers.
Even IF that trail marker had been 5' tall he would have been lucky to have caught sight of that.
Any reactionary last moment turn to the right or left, overloaded like that on glare ice,(think of a cruise ship turning), with the back end bottomed out, the front skis wouldve had little ground pressure steering would have been ineffective to nonexistant esp if well worn carbides on glare ice.
I think they call it traction lock where pulling a load makes a snowmobile only want to go straight forward when pulling, you can turn but you take about 5 times more area to turn to the side than a unladen sno-go.
The folks that staked the trail normally erect some heads up markers whenever there is trouble ahead in guise of X crossed stakes of a different color than the trail markers.
North West Arctic Bourough trail stake their trails every 40 yards.
On ice they cut willow and drill hole in ice and plant the marker with a tab of white reflective tape.
On land there are different types of permanent markers like wood tripods or flat fiberglass markers driven in the tundra with reflective tape.


At the bottom its stated
The all-volunteer group has reported a spike in emergency calls this winter, saying about 95 percent of them involved alcohol.
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Last edited by Rex in OTZ; 04-07-2019 at 04:39 PM.
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