Montana Pk, Revelstoke
Today I was out near Montana Peak on a rest day. The past week I have been out almost every day guiding in Rodgers Pass.
I dug a couple profiles to get a sense of how the layers within the snowpack are mending with little snow and mild temperatures here locally in Revelstoke before the next storm arrives on Thursday/Friday. One profile was on a west slope at 2220m on a 22 degree slope and the other was on a East slope at 2200m on a 27 degree slope.
West profile snowpack was 170cm deep
East profile snowpack was 270cm deep
The West Aspect profile:
A couple reactive layers in the top 24cm. The low density snow in the upper snowpack was not a concern, however, the sudden collapse down 24cm was on a small surface hoar layer with little to no slab properties on top. This layer reacted to Moderate test results.
from 24cm down to 120cm down the snowpack is well consolidated and bonding well
From 120cm down to 170cm (ground), the snowpack is completely faceted out (rotten).
The Faceted snow down 120cm reacted to a compression test hard (21) The 120cm slab slid off the column (Not Good)! . A skier or ridder could possibly trigger this layer in shallow rocky terrain in the alpine or in isolated Tree line ares where there is minimal ground roughness (meadows, shale slopes, etc)
The East Aspect Profile: site was in a cross loaded feature
A couple reactive layers in the top 24cm. Again mostly low density non-cohesive snow within the top 24cm.
A Surface hoar/facet layer down 48cm produced a resistant planner Sudden collapse, meaning I could get the layer to fail but it didn't want to come off the column cleanly when i tried to pull it off. From what I can see the crystals are starting to bond and heal but are not there yet...
Both profiles showed a strong temperature gradient in the top 24cm (snow crystals don't like to bond in these conditions) while a weak gradient in the mid-lower snowpack (snow crystals will start to heal over a period of time).
I am avoiding shallow rocky slopes and sticking to more supported features (concave) when on bigger alpine slopes for now. I received a big settlement (whomp) when I skied away from the East profile (assuming a settlement on the decomposing surface hoar layer down 48cm. I ran into some folks several hundred meters away who heard it.