6 Passes Traverse - Jasper national Park
Skiied 6 passes traverse Thursday Apr 18 - Saturday 20. Treeline snowpack around 130cm Bald Hills, 150cm Maligne Pass, more through the other passes. The Poboktan Creek trail is melting out though skis were worn for 95% of the exit.
Very warm temperatures Thursday were followed by 20-30cm warm snowfall (freezing level initially at treeline, dropping slowly) Thursday night and through Friday, with a natural avalanche cycle in mainly steep terrain all day. This ended within hours of snowfall ending, and the warm storm snow settled very quickly to 10-15cm by noon Saturday, generally consolidated and bonding to underlying surfaces . With only scattered cloud Saturday, widespread previous loose dry avalanches were visible in steep alpine terrain, larger (to Sz 2) on solar aspects where new snow had fallen on crusts. Numerous persistent slabs to size 2 were also observed from N and E facing alpine slopes, primarily mid-slope in sheltered areas. Light wind effect from previous SW winds was visible only in exposed alpine terrain. No new activity observed running Saturday, but the obvious persistent slab problem steered our route choice through Elusive pass to the most conservative option.
Whumphing (mainly small, but occasionally like gunshots propagating 70m+) accompanied each day at treeline and low alpine elevations, in low angled, planar terrain. Alternating crusts and weak layers in the upper 30cm seemed responsible, but occasionally also the March 7 facets. Through most of the polar or flat terrain, we could probe into this thick layer of softer midpack facets with just a skipole handle. The upper snowpack below the storm snow was supportive to skis, treeline was punchy to foot travel.
A trip through beautiful scenery, with no other traffic and minimal avalanche terrain. Ski quality was superb day 2 and 3, and surprisingly remained cold, fast powder on solar alpine despite sunny windows Saturday. Tough travel Below Treeline in semi-breakable crust over isothermal snow below treeline descending from Maligne Pass, though cold clear nights should be helping.