I guided a 4 day trip to the McDermott Hut in the McDermid basin area from Feb 6-9. We skied Planetary Glades, Mercury Bowl, Treed Side, Hang Ten, Bonus Couloir, Spoiler Alert Trees, Home Run, and unnamed areas, with a summit of Race Car Rock.
Weather: The temperature was relatively stable over the 4 days at 1800m with a high of 0 (Feb 9) and a low of -5. There was generally light to moderate SW wind, with the exception of strong, gusting to extreme, SW wind on Feb 7 at ridge top. There was no precipitation and a mix of cloud cover with mostly scattered skies.
Snowpack: Open terrain has been heavily wind affected at all elevation bands, exposing the Jan 18th melt-freeze crusts in some areas, and creating hard slab in lees. In very sheltered areas, dry unconsolidated snow can be found above 1500m, with moist snow below. A sun-crust exists on solar aspects to ridge top. I found the Jan 30th persistent slab (surface hoar) in isolated areas, specifically very sheltered locations on NW-NE aspects at TL. Where it is found, it is well preserved, up to 10mm, and giving sudden planar results in compression tests. I pulled the pin on skiing Gypsy Chute after finding this layer down 60cm with a stiff slab above and hard sudden planar results.
Avalanche Observations: There was one size 1.5 snowmobile triggered avalanche (almost directly observed) in the afternoon on Feb 6th. The slab looked to be about 50cm deep and was on a NW aspect at 2000m in an alpine bowl. On Feb 9th I observed a size 2 natural windslab avalanche on an E aspect at 2100m. There was frequent whumpfing in sheltered, flat terrain at ridge top near Race Car Rock.
Really great trip with a great group!