West of Rogers Pass
First day out since the recent storm event - so here is a bit of an update on BTL conditions (I didn't dare venture higher)just West of Glacier Park. Observations are relevant up to @1800m. and are limited to a SE aspect (it was a sunny day after all!).
Total snowpack at the top of our run was a bit over a meter in depth - tapering to @60cm at the highway elev. (@900m.). Recent storm snow has settled to roughly 40cm and made for some good exercise while trail breaking. Ski penetration was around boot top but had a double penetration feel to it which made travel a little more tedious. Skiing down we managed to float above that weaker layer and managed to keep speed up on the lower angled terrain (25 degrees) that was the choice for the day/conditions.
Whumpfs galore on the way up(some of them knee buckling), rattled the snow off the alder and trees up to 30m away, and made me happy I didn't have any steep slopes above me. In this location prior to the storm there was widespread wind effect and no Surface Hoar - I suspect a lot of the Whumpfs may have been the result of the recent storm slab collapsing over the underlying alder fields - but there was also a significant change in snowpack density below the storm snow.
We observed a couple of loose moist avalanches triggered by today's sun on steep ALP S-SW aspects and a thin crust had already formed on those aspects by the end of the day in the below treeline terrain that we were skiing. Surface hoar crystals had also formed overnight up to 5mm. in size.
With the clear skies and good view of surrounding terrain, we noted that there was a lack of visible fracture lines from the recent storms. Personally, I didn't take that as a reassuring sign of stability - it felt more like the mountains were waiting for someone to just tickle things to get it going. Another explanation for the lack of visible evidence of previous avalanche activity is that that evidence was obscured by wind and snow from the tail end of the storm.
Another storm on the way so things are bound to change - perhaps not for the better in the short term.