Avalanche Conditions

4 photos

It ain't summer yet

Lake O'Hara area

Avalanche Conditions

Spent the past 2 days around the Wiwaxy side of Lake O'Hara. Still lots of snow in shaded areas in the forest and really everywhere except windblown low elevation south and west facing slopes.

Plan A both days was to climb one of the Wiwaxy towers but wet snow with poor overnight resets kept us off the steeper slopes and away from the big faces.

Part of the plan was to descend the North side of Wiwaxy gap. There had been some recent snow so thursday I felt it was worth doing a quick test profile. Firm 165cm snowpack with no visible layers and somewhat to my surprise I found a layer of Surface Hoar down 30 cm that was reactive in compression and extended column tests. It took a hard whack but it still failed across the whole 90 cm block. I am guessing it has already disappeared and rounded out but its a good reminder that layers can form, especially on shady terrain at any time of year.

Most of the peaks are in poor climbing conditions currently due to poor approach conditions, too much snow, cornices etc. The pleasant surprise was that Lefroy looked to be well covered in snow after many winters where no snow had stuck to the face, presumably due to high winds. Somehow during this dry windy winter the snow stuck and with a good freeze it could a fine snow climb for awhile.

Lots of postholing exercise to be had to get you in shape for if and when summer starts!

On The Map

These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.