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jmckay

Western Canada/ November /K country ice

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Rain and warm temperatures started this morning at 0500. Contrary to

the public forecast, the rain was steady and became heavy at 1230. At

1240, several large avalanches released on Hudson Bay Mountain. One

size 3.5 hit the Davidson mine road again. Fortunately, it ran a bit

further south in the path and did not block the road completely. The

deposit was moist snow with some dirt in it. Another size 2.5 ran in

the so-called Diamond Face on the Kathlyn flank of Hudson Bay Mountain.

 

Temperatures are dropping now and most unstable snow seems to have

released. Where that is not the case, I would expect a potential for

large avalanches, even to ground. It certainly is a wild week, and

more snow is forecast.

--

Christoph Dietzfelbinger

Mountain Guide IFMGA

Bear Mountaineering and the Burnie Glacier Chalet

Box 4222 Smithers, B.C. Canada V0J 2N0

tel. 250-847-3351 fax 250-847-2854

info@bearmountaineering.ca www.bearmountaineering.ca

 

 

 

 

_______________________________________________

These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.

Please check out http://acmg.ca/mcr for more information.

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Up at the Bald hills today with AST group. 0C in parking lot. Strong

ice crust near ground at lake, higher in the snowpack as you ascend.

Near treeline the crust seems variable depending on aspect.

At 7000ft did a test profile at the bottom of "telemark hill" right

where it breaks into the open.

There was are 2 laminated ice crusts here about 30-50 cm down giving

easy to mod compression tests. The result was a sudden collapse

between the crusts.

We also did a reutchblock and got a score of 3 on a low angle 20 deg slope.

It was very windy and snowing fairly hard in the alpine and lots of

wind affect in open terrain. No wumpfing noted but hard to tell in

this weather.

It will certainly be interesting to watch the treeline areas where

the crust is more evident and reactive. I would watch unsupported

features at treeline. Raining on the way home.

I would anticipate an increase in the hazard based on the changing

conditions during today.

 

Peter Amann

Mountain Guiding

Box 1495, Jasper AB, T0E 1E0

780 852 3237

www.incentre.net/pamann

pamann@incentre.net

 

_______________________________________________

These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.

Please check out http://acmg.ca/mcr for more information.

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Spent the last two days at Parkers Ridge. No new avalanche activity and great

ski conditions. The snowpack has set up great, with easy trail breaking and a

nice uniform supportive mid-pack on the descent. Even the alpine offered

relatively uniform and friendly ski quality.

 

It was quite windy today, and conditions are changing with warm temperatures.

Reports of rain to 2300m in the Maligne Lake area, and it was raining from

Sunwapta to Jasper on the highway this evening.

 

Moderate slope test results down 40 cm and 70 cm on a steep lee alpine feature.

 

Slabs are forming, and the cornices were showing some growth over the past two

days. Mixed N and SW winds with lots of strong gusts today (reverse and cross

loading).

 

The Nov 7 rain crust is down about a metre (mid-pack), and was not reactive in

the slope testing.

 

The warm weather isn't helping the ice. The Weeping Wall is in thin and mixed

conditions (there were a couple parties there today to try Mixed Master and

some other mixed climbs). One party on the 'Stage' beside Curtain Call.

Questionable weather that is a good place to hang out with that much wind

loading happening. Another party parked for Shades of Beauty area. Everything

looks early season thin and white. Tangle Falls has lots of water flowing and

it's hard to find a spot to even ice boulder.

 

In short, the skiing is better than the climbing!

 

Jordy Shepherd

Mountain Guide

 

 

 

_______________________________________________

These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.

Please check out http://acmg.ca/mcr for more information.

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Did the classic Surprise Pass tour today (Nov 21). Total loop from Lake Louise round-trip was about 5 hours. We (Err, I mean Nick) had to break trail the whole way as there were no signs of previous travel from Saddleback Pass onwards.

 

Snow Conditions: Pits were dug just below Saddleback Pass and then at the top of Surprise Pass. Both offered the same results and similar to what Park's Avalanche Bulletin has been stating: moderate to hard compression tests failing on the thin facet layer immediately above the Nov 7 rain crust. Below the crust is pencil hard snow to the ground. The new storm snow appears to be bonding well to the wind slab from last weeks wind event. Ski pen ranged from 20cm to 35cm. Weather conditions all day were calm winds and snowing steadily at less than 1cm per hour with the temperature being -6 Celsius. Total snow depth at Saddleback Pass and Surprise Pass were both a little more than 100cm.

 

Now for the goods: knee deep powder top to bottom. The only rock hit was the first turn out of the pass. Some old avy debris was hit under the storm snow about halfway down the run but can be avoided by deeking skiers left. The rock garden just before valley bottom is not an issue since there is plenty of supportive snow.

 

Note: I have heard stories of folks, while skiing up Sheol Valley, getting suckered up the wrong gully thinking it was Surprise Pass. Be sure to go right to the end of the valley. The proper gully is much shorter and less steep than the first couple sucker gullies (which would put you somewhere undesirable on the ridge of Fairview).

 

Hard to believe this is November in the Rockies. A little wind though and it will be a different story up there.

 

Sean Isaac

AAG

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Fine skiing for November today on the main Black Prince slopes. The November crust is still saving the day. A fairly good workout breaking trail in 20cms new snow and 30cms unconsolidated snow below that. No recent wind effect to the top of the trees. The crust still carries almost everywhere we skied up and down. With a light touch and an eye for the willows we had good turns from the top to the trail.

 

No signifigant weak layers found in several rough compression and burp tests. Several healthy sounding avalanches ran from the big slabs in the alpine somewhere on the Warspite/Black Prince ridge.

 

The weather forecast for Banff, Yoho and Kananaskis seems to point to a calm, showery weekend and the avalanche danger is forecast to decrease over the next two days in Banff, Kootenay and Yoho. However, if the weather forecast is wrong and the wind does blow up high, there just may be avalanches running fairly far and fast out of the steep alpine along the divide. I would not recommend wandering around under any big, steep, alpine terrain on skiis or crampons just yet. If you do, just remember what the Friendly Giant used to say to Rusty, "Look up. Look way up!"

 

Larry Stanier

Mountain Guide

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Went into the Whistler Near country today with Keith Reid, MG and Dave Sarkany, SG. Great day of skiing. This is what might pertain to your trip out there in the next couple of days:

 

We dug a hole around lunch time and found a series of moderate test results all within the newer snow ( over a meter in the last few days). There was one that stuck out a little more than others, this moderate shear was down 55cm. It was in an interface that didn't really jump out at us visually while doing the profile.

 

We didn't see anything slide out there but skied quite conservatively. There was some cracking and propagation in isolated lee pockets in the alpine. On the bright side things were settling out really fast. Foot penetration went from 90+cms in the morning to 40cm in the late afternoon. I didn't really chat about it with the other guys a the end of the day, but I would call it CONSIDERABLE in the alpine and MODERATE at treeline.

 

Alpine temperatures hovered around -3 to -5 for most of the day, it snowed off and on, less than 10cm throughout the day. Winds were light to moderate from the SE.

 

Although there were 180cms where we dug our pit (6300ft), several areas still have rocks and trees sticking through.

 

Whistler Patrol will still have a day or two of avalanche control work to do out in the east before they open the Harmony and the new Flute Chair. Check in to be sure of the safest route out that way. Also plan on an hour in the base area to get a backcountry pass, everyone is lining up to get their seasons' passes and edge cards.

 

On the ski down Whistler Mountain there were several unmarked hazards that the crews just haven't gotten to yet, so stay attentive until you are at the Pub.

 

Conny Amelunxen

Mountain Guide,

ACMG

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Got back from a week of ice climbing out of Rampart Creek yesterday with the Yamnuska semester program. As noted by many there is a lot more snow in the gullies than usual this year and despite not seeing a lot of avalanche activity we stayed away from most climbs with avalanche hazard above them. Another 15-20cm on the highway yesterday kept us headed for more benign terrain. For those interested, here is a summary of what we climbed and saw.

 

We climbed at:

Tangle Creek (OK but still a bit thin)

Two 0’Clock Falls (good condition)

Louise Falls (climbed below the roof, pillar still needed a few days and lots of hanging ice hazard)

Elliot Left Hand (ice is great but watch for avalanches now, 2x 60m ropes are best, good trail starts 60m S of the small side road where you park)

Meltout (good)

Shades of Beauty (great condition)

Haffner Creek (still thin but coming along and very wet)

 

Cheers, Conrad Janzen

IFMGA Mountain Guide

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Hello,

 

Climbed part of the Urs Hole today. It is in thin conditions with a bunch of open pools to try not to fall into. We turned around about 2/3 of the way up due to an unformed section with a ton of running water. All being said, it's probably worth giving this one a miss right now.

 

Looking from the road:

 

Cascade - Missing sections of ice on the upper pitches and doesn't look great

 

Rogan's - Bottom looks very thin and unappealing.

 

Rocks were still showing through the snow in the bowls above the routes this morning. However, with more snow or wind this could change quickly along with the potential for avalanches.

 

Jesse de Montigny

ACMG Assistant Alpine and Assistant Ski guide

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Skied a couple of laps down “Husume”, a steep NW aspect which skies into

the Blackcomb glacier drainage, accessed via the Spearman Gl. As for the

ski quality, it was quit exceptional, unprecedented for this time of year.

Good goggles are a necessity as you should be expecting a face shots with

most turns.

 

In Immediate lee steep ridge top terrain we were able to ski cut some

small soft slabs 30cm thick. There was limited propagation with these

slabs, but, this limited volume would typically initiate sluffing in the

upper 20-30cm of new snow. This resulting loose snow sluff is capable of

entailing enough volume to knock a skier off there feet or carry a skier

over or into hazardous terrain and even burry a skier in a terrain trap.

 

We accessed Husume via the Spearman Glacier. Thought limited opportunity

for visual observation, it appeared the coverage on the glaciers is very

good for this time of the year. Of further note, especially in the case of

the upper Spearman Glacier is that it has become more complex over the

summer. As a result, it would be very advisable in even previously

familiar glaciated terrain to us great caution when visibility is limited.

 

 

 

Keith Reid, MG

 

_______________________________________________

These observations and opinions are those o

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Mark Stanley and I were up on McGill shoulder today at Rogers Pass. Warm morning, -1 at the parking lot at 8:20am with about 12cm of new snow overnight. Cooled off considerably and by noon it was in the –8 range. Light northerly winds with minor transport in the areas we skied, didn’t really see too much of the high country but I’m sure it was blowing hard somewhere. May want to watch out for that pesky reverse loading due to the N winds for the next couple of days in the Alpine and exposed features.

 

There was about 10cm of slightly colder snow overlying a generally well settled and well bonded snowpack up there. The 10cm was reactive in steep wind affected micro features but nothing of consequence at all – just some cracking and sluffing.

 

Excellent... I mean excellent skiing. Over the head face shots for the top 2/3 of the run – then into alders and the rain/temperature crust for the lower 1/3. But still more than enjoyable, and the upper 2/3 was worth any minor bushwhack anyway.

 

Ian Tomm

Assistant Ski Guide

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Do to a verry late start this AM we headed into spray falls.

A popular route lately.

However conditions have changed since its condition was first posted.

 

This is what i found:

It was not as wet as it was earlier in the week. But more snow than on my

first visit. The colum cracked while climbing it.

At the top i decided to go and take a look above the route, to familiarize

my self a bit more.

 

Above there is much wind loading and lots of snow! Over 1 meter penetration

in some sections.

Significant slab formation in the main shoot coming in from climbers

left(aprox 20cm thick) observed at about 40m above the route, already enough

material to take you off the route. At the top of the shoot maybe 300m away

a nice 1.5 to 2m cornice overhangs the line.

Basically those are the facts. The snow felt good but the terrain and the

volume did not. Maybe the next major snow fall or wind event.... At the

least I would pay serious attention to minize the exposure: on the approach

and during belays.

 

The terrain was bigger than i had thought and despite the current Hazard

posting i would find something else to do for a while.

 

 

Patrick Delaney

ass. alpine guide

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Erica and I had a recreational day up Connaught Creek on Friday, skiing

Dispatchers trees and Ursus trees.

 

Snowing lightly all day, generally calm or light winds with some sudden

westerly gusts to moderate although up higher it seemed to blowing

harder. -12 at our high point.

 

About 150cm of snow at treeline, 120 cm on top of the Nov raincrust.

The entire upper part of the snowpack was fairly low density with no

major layers noted with probing.

 

A couple of size 1 soft slabs on steep rollovers in the immediate lees

of ridges. Some moderate sized cornices hanging around. No activity

today in the alpine that we could see in a couple of hours of decent

visibility although the light was flat. Overall, in the treeline areas

we skied things felt fairly benign although the light snow would be

transported by winds and form slabs fairly quickly.

 

Ski quality: super excellent. Cold smoke!

 

Mark Klassen

Mountain Guide

 

_______________________________________________

These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.

Please check out http://acmg.ca/mcr for more information.

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Headed to Highwood Pass today for a crisp afternoon of skiing before the

Hwy #40 gate closes on Dec. 1. We were one of 6 cars parked in the area.

 

-22C at 11am in the parking lot with broken skies and a moderate wind from

the south that made us sprint into the trees for some reprieve.

 

I was pleasantly surprised to find an 80-85cm snowpack at 7500 ft. in the

trees. The Nov. crust sat about 10cm off the ground, 2cm thick with

facets and/or depth hoar beneath almost everywhere I looked for it.

 

About 15cm of fist density snow on 55cm 4 finger - 1 finger density snow

that sat on the crust. Below treeline the snow was not consolidated

enough to move on steeper features, but that changed in a hurry when we

reached treeline. Where the snow had any exposure to wind it was forming

a soft slab that produced moderate, resistant planer hand shears. The HS

also decreased to 40-50cm and some thinner spots with burried rocks - one

such spot producing a sizable settlement with cracks shooting for several

meters. I believe the wind had removed some of the HS beneath the most

recent storm snow as the surface was not visably affected until above

treeline where wind etching was evident. The alpine looked uninviting and

even a little scary with loaded pockets here and there, although I saw no

recent activity anywhere.

 

The best skiing was definately in the trees where we had great boot top

powder. Just above treeline and in more open areas we were getting the odd

"free stone grind".

 

At our high point of ~7700 ft. light wind transport had blown ~5cm of snow

in to our tracks in ~30 min.

 

On the drive home Whiteman's Falls looked quite thick, Kidd Falls looked

in typical condition and Amadeus was in although perhaps a bit stiffer

than the grade right now.

 

Cheers,

Shaun King

Asst. Ski & Alpine Guide

 

_______________________________________________

These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.

Please check out http://acmg.ca/mcr for more information.

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Temperatures have dropped to -24 degrees at timberline with a moderate

southerly wind. There is wind effect to timberline and the upper

mountain shows a lot of wind effect. The 19 November avalanche cycle

has stripped the large start zones. The debris is blown off and

showing. Cornices are small. A profile at 1550 m shows 160 cm of snow.

There is a very easy shear on surface hoar 3 cm down, but we found no

rain crust, contrary to our expectations. The temperature gradient in

the top 50 cm is very strong.

 

Since the run down was variable and wind affected, we carried our skis

down into the path. Skiing quality was very poor on the avalanche

debris so we carried them all the way.

--

Christoph Dietzfelbinger

Mountain Guide IFMGA

Bear Mountaineering and the Burnie Glacier Chalet

Box 4222 Smithers, B.C. Canada V0J 2N0

tel. 250-847-3351 fax 250-847-2854

info@bearmountaineering.ca www.bearmountaineering.ca

 

 

 

 

_______________________________________________

These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.

Please check out http://acmg.ca/mcr for more information.

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Just a heads up that on our way to Lake Louise for a ski tour this morning we noticed that La Goute's top pillar had broken off probably due to cold temps. As we were skiing out from Surprise Pass (which is still in similar condition as Sean's post) we talked to a couple of guys who had just experienced a really close call at the base of Louise Falls when the right side of the curtain fell off above them and left a huge pile of debris where they had been standing.

 

Its seems that its good to be weary of hanging ice when there are big changes in temperatures.

 

Cheers,

Marc Piché

Mountain Guide

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I was back at the pass today because yesterday was just too good to be true. We were up the Connaught drainage this time wound with a lap on Grizzly Shoulder with excellent ski conditions and then a run to punch a track up to Balu Pass – where we spent the rest of the day by ourselves in 40-60cm new, very light and and very cold new snow.

 

The shears down 15cm and 30cm are still present but not producing any significant results in areas skied today. Minor sloughing in steep features but no real mass or momentum to speak of. The winds were generally light from the north, gusting moderate and starting to transport snow up high on the shoulder up from Balu Pass just beneath 8812 peak, no slabbing observed at all today.

 

The weather was in and out but we got a reasonable look at the high country including 8812 bowl and the Cheops slide paths. No wind effect in 8812 bowl at all that we could see, and most of the paths off Cheops that affect the valley floor have sluffed off in the last 24 hours, all running to top or mid path elevations. All in all another fantastic day out at the pass... and its only November...

 

Skiing is excellent all round, reports from the Ursus area were 5 star as well. Hazard wise, things are changing with all the new snow lately and more on the way – keep your eyes open, tips up and repeat your ‘Obvious Clues’ as a mantra out there...Avaluate things carefully.

 

Ian Tomm

Assistant Ski Guide

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I was east of Whistler Mt's ski area boundary in Burntstew Basin. In the flats of the basin, at around 1700m, there is a height of snow of 150cm and a foot penetration of about 70cm. Ski penetration is 30cm. The ski quality is pretty much excellent. As the visibility was pretty bad by the time I got there I don't have a lot to say about the Alpine. At Tree Line I saw no avalanche activity, and many slopes got there first tracks of the season; I'd place the hazard as Moderate, and going up as it storms tonight.

 

Dave Sarkany, Ski Guide

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Short day at the Gorge today, above Malakwa, near Sicamous. Temperature was minus 9 at 6000 ft / 1800 m, snowing less than a centimeter per hour, with light to moderate SW winds (probably stronger winds in the alpine). There was a 200 cm snowpack, and 70+cm of low density storm snow on the recent raincrust below 5500 ft / 1700 m. The only raincrust found above 1700 m is the Nov 7th crust, which is 20 cm thick and down 140 cm now. We skied a steep north facing line with well spaced trees. There was only surface sloughing on 35+ degree terrain.

 

 

 

Excellent ski quality, and great coverage with a supportive snowpack down to the road at 4500 ft / 1350m. There was even good skiing to be found in the lower cutblocks.

 

 

 

Driving back to Revelstoke there was a strong outflow wind at Three Valley Gap. Looked like good (but very cold) windsurfing.

 

 

 

Jordy Shepherd

 

Mountain Guide

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Spent yesterday on Lesser Flute. Excellent ski conditions. At 1800m the height of snow is about 2 meters. By 2:30 air temps were -16 with high humidity. Brrrr. Within the snow pack stability tests gave hard and moderate results with one easy test 20cm down from the surface within a fist density layer. Yesterday afternoon I rated the Hazard at tree line as Moderate, and the Stability at Tree line as Good. The northerly and outflow winds started to effect the area at around 1pm.

 

Dave Sarkany, Ski Guide

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