I guided a group in the Chickadee Valley today. Temps at the parking lot at the Continental Divide area were -3.0 and it was snowing about 1cm per hour at 8:30 am. Snowfall was 1cm to less than 1cm all day.
We skied the tight trim lines of some of the paths off of the south side Boom peak. High point was 2000 meters and we got a temperature of -1.4. We declined to climb higher than that as the freezing levels climbed to about 1700-1800 meters by early afternoon. Winds were out of the south west and we could hear the stronger wind speeds at higher elevations above us..
Ski quality was superb with about 30cm of storm snow from yesterday, last night and today. I would hazard a guess of 10-15cm of snow since yesterday. It snowed about 3-4 cm's today
Loose dry avalanches were evident as snow was shedding off the steep unsupported terrain across the valley on the north side of Mt Whimper. We heard one notable roar from the same area and I would expect a storm/windslab release or a cornice failure.
We kept our exposure as minimal as we could and our slope angle not much greater than 30 degrees today. The storm snow today remained unconsolidated and did not have appreciable slab properties yet...that has got to be changing fast. I would expect greater slab properties in terrain that is influenced by the wind affect - likely at upper TL and into the ALP elevation bands.
More load tonight, more wind and sustained warm temps will change this really quick so be head's up for even more elevated avalanche hazard tomorrow. Read the avalanche hazard forecast and follow the forecaster's travel advice.
The mindset over the last 2 and half weeks has been pretty freewheel with the low hazard conditions and people have been getting after it and that has been great to see. In my 20+ years I have never seen so much aggro terrain getting skied wall to wall!
That was then and this is now.
It is probably a really good time for all backcountry users to shift mindsets from 'open season' to 'stepping back.' Way back.
I would urge caution and careful assessment over these next few days until we are able to get a feel for how the new snow is bonding to the older interfaces including facetted surfaces and surface hoar in the valley bottoms on north aspects, some temperature crusts, wind sculpted and pressed surfaces depending on aspect and elevation.
Have a great time out there.
Paddy Jerome IFMGA/ACMG Mountain Guide