Rich So and I spent the weekend camping and skiing in the 7 Mile drainage on the Duffey Lake road.

Access: We started from the Cayoosh parking lot with the route heading as if to the NE glacier before veering north above 'Rock and Roll'. Best coverage in a few years I've seen down low for this time of year. There is evidence of big trees having been tipped over with the recent big snows but things have consolidated now. Creeks are still open in areas.

Weather: Friday brought 10 cm, 5 Saturday during the day and another 5cm Saturday night. Light precip and moderate winds were experienced Saturday. Winds switched to light northerlies Sunday bringing cold, clear air.

Snow conditions: Winds predominantly from the SW had distributed snow in the alpine but wind slabs remained stubborn. At 1900m in an east facing open glade, the ~Nov 12th crust is down 90 and produced no results. When given the ol 'boot to shovel test' it released within the crust but I wouldn't expect anything other than a really large load triggering that layer. Above the crust we observed a right side up and well consolidated snowpack. Surface hoar was found down ~20cm mixed with stellars but the snow above was low density (fist). The odd surface hoar crystal was 4-6mm but otherwise small and fragmented 1-2mm. Windslabs exist in areas loaded on N to E aspects and may need a few days to bond.

Terrain and avalanche activity: We chose conservative lines but covered a large amount of ground. One natural isolated windslab was observed on the immediate lee (sz 1.5) but otherwise, no recent activity. Ski conditions were great on Sunday with ~20cm of silky cold snow. Ski cuts and tests on small features provided no results.

Overall, I think the Duffey Lake area snowpack is setting up well. The thick November crust may come to haunt us later (see facet crust combo) but for now, if windslabs are well bonded, a lot of lines might be good skiing.

Safe travels.

Sam McKoy

for more photos from the trip/area:

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These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.