Duffey Lake Road
Spent 4 days with a group on the Duffey Lake Road camped by Rohr Lake.
Early season conditions very much exist still and many features are unskiable. Low logging roads are easy travel but below 1700m bootpacking in the forests is still required. 1700-1900m involves travel with skis but can be challenging with surface roughness. There is 60-80cm of snow at these elevations.
Above 1900m, up to 2 meters exist in areas that are wind loaded and but generally, the snowpack is shallow (less than 1 meter) and include prominent facetted layers buried in December and November.
Snow conditions are generally good but rocks are lurking under the soft snow nearly everywhere. Some surface hoar growth was observed throughout the weekend.
Test profiles on a north aspect at treeline provided repeatable hard to moderate compression test results down 60cm (out of a total 100cm of snow) on pronounced 2-3mm facets. In an extended column test, the layer failed to propagate.
No avalanches were observed despite good visibility. No signs of instability while travelling (wumphing or shooting cracks). One cornice failure size 1.5 (no slab avalanche).
Overall, things are skiable if you can get to the right terrain but the approaches are challenging making 1-2 day trips unappealing. The current snowpack can be described as 'continental' and I expect as we get more load, we will be dealing with a dangerous and long-lasting persistent weak layer problem. Currently, there seems to be too much terrain roughness and not enough load for avalanches.
In the coming weeks, be careful out there. Once the snow arrives, things will wake up and become exceedingly alarming.