Lake Louise Region
From March 23-28th, The ACMG had a Ski Guide exam running in the Lake Louise region; these are their observations.
Sub Observation Peak
Little Crowfoot mountain
Mt. Whymper – Boom Ridge
Weather: Generally, unsettled weather with moderate to Extreme winds from the SW. There was 10-15cm that fell throughout the week, and the large precip. and wind event of Sunday the 28th brought up to 30cm of new snow. On this day, it also rained below 1600m.
Snowpack: The storm on Sunday significantly influenced the snowpack, resulting in wind-affected snow throughout most areas. Protected NE areas seem to be the least affected. The Bow summit area received up to 40cm, while most other regions received 20-30cm. Up to 60cm of snow now sits on the mid-March interface, which gave us the most concern on any solar aspects as this interface is a very firm crust.
On Saturday March 27th, a wind slab was remotely triggered on the North side of Mt. Whymper by a student who was investigating an alternate ski line. The initial slab was small (size 1, 10 - 15cm deep, 10m wide, 2600m); however, it stepped down into a deeper wind-slab in the fan below. The deeper secondary slab (size 1.5, 20 - 40cm deep, 15 - 20m wide) travelled 300m towards two groups who were ascending below and resulted in a close call.
As of March 29th, the main avalanche concern was wind slabs which are found in many open areas above the treeline. Some locations have wind effect below the treeline too. Loose snow avalanches from the recent storm snow were also a concern in steep locations. No new avalanches were observed within the new storm snow.
Several significant cornice failures were observed.
Other hazards and observations:
· Creeks are starting to open up
· Higher elevation wind exposed (SW facing) areas have more rocks showing than usual.
· Cornices are very large.
· Glaciers generally have 2-3m coverage, except where they are exposed to higher winds (Hector for example)
Skiing and travel:
Ski crampons are becoming very important to pack; many Southern aspects or locations below 1600 are very firm in the morning.
Excellent skiing was found in any areas above 1800m that are sheltered from the wind; anything windward (South through NW) has some wind effect.