Chickadee Valley, Kootenay Park
Checked out the slide paths in Chickadee Valley, looking for some safe ski lines. We checked out the first slide path which ran circa January 14 (as reported by Francisco in the MCR). It had run mid path to about the middle of the track. The crown was still visible and the debris had very little new snow on it. (Sad... we need snow.) We felt that the overhead hazard was thus largely eliminated. We only found 60 to 80cm of unsupportive facets when starting up the lower part of the track. In addition, there were breakable sun crusts in the upper 20cm. Surprisingly no whumpfs today. We decided it wasn't worth skiing this slide path.
Before heading up valley we did a compression test at 2025m on a 25 degree slope (S aspect). HS was 75cm. There were non-supportive sun crusts down 5cm and 20cm. We had a moderate sudden planar result down 40cm on surface hoar and a hard sudden planar result down 55 on depth hoar. (CTM17 SP down 40 / CTH21 SP down 55).
Further up valley we noted the upper part of pretty much every S facing slide path had run, likely during the same period as reported by Francisco. Crowns were still evident and debris had very little snow on it. The next slide path had marginally more snow (HS 90 - 110cm) and carried our skis much better.
We skied up to just below the toe of the debris and had some good turns on 25 degree terrain. The sun crusts were not present here likely because Mt Whymper protected the lower part of these slopes from getting cooked.
We did two extended column tests with almost identical results. S aspect, 2085m, 25 degree terrain. Both propagated down 40 and 45cm on well preserved 3-5mm surface hoar. (ECTP13 down 40 on SH 3-5mm / ECTP16 down 45 on SH 3-5mm.)
Thanks to Tobias, Nicole, Julia and Jeff for all the shovelling yesterday and today.
Summary: still some good skiing here but the S aspect slide paths are wrecked by old debris so only the lower parts of the track and runout are skiable, making for short runs, but good turns. Our observations from yesterday and today showed that the surface hoar, facets and depth hoar are clearly evident on N and S aspects in this area. Despite the moderate hazard rating, I personally wouldn't be challenging the big lines at the moment.