Catamount Glacier - Purcell Mountains
Some friends and I spent the last 5 days skiing around the Olive Hut in the Purcell Mountains (December 30th to January 3rd).
We had stormy weather for the duration of the trip with about 50cm of new snow and winds gusting approximately 60-100km for the first 3 days of January.
While traveling on the Catamount and North Star Glaciers we probed from 140cm to over 320cm, averaging around 250cm. We saw one open crevasse and a few sags near Mt Galloway, but otherwise very few signs of crevasses.
We did not observe any new avalanches until today, when we observed a few size 1-2 storm slab avalanches in the alpine on a NW aspect on the the Scotch Peaks. There were probably more but our visibility was limited.
A snow profile at the beginning of our trip in the alpine showed the December 7th layer down about 60cm, but no shear results and no signs of avalanches on this layer. Our primary concern was windslabs, which were often supportable and hard. Many wind exposed areas in the alpine were scoured down to rock, including some gully features. During a short ski tour today near Welsh Creek below treeline, we had minor cracking and shearing on pillows down 30cm on 5mm surface hoar. There was a lot less snow here than near the Catamount Glacier, with only about 130cm on the ground, the early November crust being about 10cm above the ground.
We avoided large steep slopes in the alpine for the entire trip.
Enjoy the skiing out there, it was pretty amazing below treeline today!