Avalanche Conditions

1 photos

Avalanche Crest #3 - Something to keep in mind

Avalanche Crest - Rogers Pass

Avalanche Conditions

I have attached an image of the recent heli-bombing avalanche that occurred on Sunday (Jan.23) in the Avalanche Crest # 3 avalanche path in Rogers Pass.

Just in case you are wandering up there on a cloudy day, you don't want accidently choose this as an objective and find yourself in poor light launching over this 1m.+ fracture line onto a rock hard bed surface.

The other purpose is to pass on some thoughts on avalanche problems that are related to re-loaded bed surfaces. A bed surface is what is left exposed to the elements post avalanche. If the avalanche is of any consequential size this surface is likely to be "hard as a stick", as the heat released from the friction of the avalanche melts and refreezes the bed surface as it runs down the mountain.

Like any crust they tend to make it very difficult for the next snowfalls to bond well and can create a persistent weak layer that is not otherwise in the surrounding terrain that has not avalanched. This means that you cannot apply test information and general stability comments in bulletins to these specific features.

Avalanche professionals go to considerable efforts to catalogue and keep track of where avalanches have and have not previously released in their operating areas, something that is much more challenging for the recreational skiers who do not have the opportunity to keep track of these terrain/snowpack subtleties on a daily basis.

This leaves you to scour previous bulletins and other sources in search of clues as to where previous avalanches have released and if they match up with your objective (you can also look for old debris piles in the runouts of the avalanche path).

If you find evidence of previous significant activity, I would suggest that you ensure you get information that is valid for that slope. This may be difficult or perhaps even impossible to attain without committing to the slope, in which case you may want to consider a different objective.

Avalanche Crest # 3 gets frequently skied during extended periods of good weather and stability, as does STS couloir in Connaught creek which has also seen a couple of large releases earlier this season. Just something to keep in mind during your decision process prior to skiing these or any large objectives.

On The Map

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.