Rogers Pass - Connaught Ck.
I was back in the Connaught Ck. drainage today as well as Wednesday, and things have changed considerably since last Sunday. Wednesday saw 20cms+ of dense new snow overlying the Nov. 13 interface and today there was another additional 20cms of lower density snow over that. This puts the Halloween crust down 50-60cms+ .
On Wednesday we noted a size 2 natural avalanche out of the STS (Cheops North 4) couloir that had probably released within the previous 6 hours and ran part way down the top part of the fan, and today we only saw a small loose surface sluff off a steep slope(40 degree) below a rock.
We skied 8812 bowl on both occasions, but today we took a poke at the east aspect of Bruins Ridge, a little ways down from the ridge but where it was still pretty flat, and I have to admit that I was a bit spooked at what I saw there.
We had an easy to moderate hand shear on the Nov.13 interface, but more worrisome to me was the soft (4F-F) layer directly below the 1cms thick Halloween crust. Although we were not seeing natural activity on this layer it is something that could be skier triggered in the wrong place.
Needless to say we bailed on that option.
From what I have seen the Halloween crust is highly variable and I would call it a developing problem as well as the Storm snow interface.
Looking ahead ( I can't help it I am a forecaster by nature!) - I see the potential for a natural cycle during the day on Sunday given what the weather maps are currently saying.
My main concern is that people may not appreciate that at this time of year those paths in Connaught Ck.(especially "Frequent Flyer") are capable of reaching valley bottom. If avalanches do occur, they will likely run farther and faster, given the underlying smooth crust that is present this year.
Still fun skiing to be had in the right locations!
ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide