Avalanche Conditions

Avalanche Conditions

Headed to Chickadee Valley in hopes of finding something that escaped yesterday's big wind event. Many other people in the valley on Sunday so the approach trail is another heavily pounded luge run. Noted some recent natural slab activity on steep morainal features up to size 1.5 on E / NE aspects.

We skied the first hanging valley on the left as you head up the valley so our observations of the entire area are a bit limited. The terrain in the alpine above had been ravaged by the recent wind with many slopes being stripped of snow and a lot of the remaining snow was brown with dirt deposited on top of it. Many open areas were wind-affected with some areas stripped, some with sastrugi and some with new breakable crust. Isolated slabs had developed in a few areas open to the wind. Best skiing was Treeline and below in very sheltered areas.

We didn't do any formal tests but were managing the terrain very conservatively, especially in open areas or where we could see or feel wind affect. Where we were, the W winds continued in the moderate range all day but the amount of snow being transported was less than you might expect since a lot of it had already been redistributed yesterday.

The snowpack was a bit more supportive and a tiny bit deeper (150cm) here than at Helen Lake yesterday. In any case, it was still a predominantly faceted Rockies snowpack. When we hit the open at treelike (~2100m) we transitioned onto a new wind deposited hollow hard slab. There was no point in venturing any farther as everything was destroyed by the wind. Found a steep protected glade below treeline which we skied one at a time.

The avalanche conditions seemed a bit trickier today than yesterday and our mindset was conservative and definitely not one of "stepping out". Used our BCA FRS radios to good effect over the last two days for group communication and control while managing the terrain.

The Parks Canada assessment of Considerable / Considerable / Low at the end of the day seemed to be a fair assessment of the situation that we experienced. Definitely a change since Friday! Heads up until it settles down again.

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.