Coast Range - Callaghan Basin
I was based out of the Journeyman Lodge in the Callaghan for the past 5 days. The trip started cold with morning temperatures below -20C and strong to extreme outflow winds and it ended with alpine highs above zero with no wind at all.
Snow: The outflow winds stripped all the snow available for transport from the alpine and treeline leaving old ski tracks standing proud and a variety of wind affected surfaces that varied from large sastrugi, breakable crusts, supportive windslabs and small pockets of decent snow. Anything south facing now also has a melt-freeze crust on it. Down in the valley below treeline the snowpack has a thin temperature crust where it's been sheltered from the sun. This crust is much thicker where it has seen the sun.
Avalanches: We saw some isolated pockets of wind slab on lee N & NW aspects earlier in the week (Mar 14) but extensive and aggressive snowmobile testing didn't produce any reactivity in the days since. There were several natural loose-wet avalanches to size 2 coming from solar slopes below rocky cliff bands in the ALP & TL (generally above 1600m) yesterday. We did not see any cornice failures, many of which were cut back a bit from the outflow winds.