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jmckay

Western Canada/January

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(Hope all made it out of the storm ok. Sure that some did not. here in banff it snowed all night and we are having the best ski year that anybody can remember.

Joe)

 

Just came out from Cayoosh area today. Around 40 cm's

of very moist snow at valley bottom elevation

(5500ft), I imagine up to 60+ cm's at higher

elevations.

Tried to get some skiing in still, however as you can

imagine there were not to many good turns to be had.

Travel was quite difficult and the tree bombs in the

Forest made tree skiing out of the question. We

managed a few turns in the pillow Field at the end of

the road but even this seemed to be pushing it with

all the new snow and warm temps.

In the few clear moments of the day we could see

extensive evidence of a natural cycle going on at all

elevations and aspects. I would say stability is Poor

in most places.

It might be best to stick to another sport for the

next few days until the temps cool off. Oh, Ya. The

road was very bad too!

Craig McGee, Mountain Guide.

 

 

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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.

 

Edited by jmckay

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Skiing is the way to get in now, too much snow for biking. We put our

packs onto sleds which was a good way to go. Thought that we'd climb

Whiteman Falls first but with the temps increasing 10 C by early morning

it made two spooky big crack-cum-settling noises so we opted for Redman

Soars, which is in good standard shape with evidence of only one

previous ascent, awhile ago, this year. Crux was good with ice for tools

and a couple of airy moves of feet on small rock edges. I led past the

retro-fit 2 bolt anchor (not placed on the first ascent), placed a 16 cm

screw in the pillar above climbed a bodylength higher and started to

pull the bulge. Tried to highstep right over it, blew that crampon and

pulled outwards too much from the higher grip (bump-up position) of my

new X Monster tools (and I am not blaming the tool, rather my

unfamiliarity with it, first day on them) and POP, and to prove Larry

Stanier right, "Even grade 1 ice is going to seem really steep if you

fall on it". Because of the circuitous nature of the route, and my

belayer out a bit to take pictures, I plummeted 20 feet and accordianed

into the tightish rock gully below (where I suffered most of my

battering). Didn't break anything but I am plenty stiff today and

hobbling around on crutches with a sprained ankle.

 

Anyway, it was and amateur day (I was out with a buddy and not guiding)

so I shook off the shakes and rallied, hauled up two tools (my leashless

ones went to the bottom of the climb, found late on descent) and

finished the climb. The hike and ski out was accomplished with the aid

of 2000mg of Ibuprofen (some medical types have told me that you can get

away with one big dose to reduce swelling, just as long as you aren't on

it, or take more in the next 24 hrs) and my partner taking all the

weight and both sleds.

 

I'll identify a couple of factors:

 

-Complacency, I tend to climb with the minimum amount of effort -for me-

my tools should have been in better than hooking. Most years I've

climbed at least 40 days by now and I'm more onto my game. This year I

guided in Antarctica for the last month and yesterday was my 6th day

out, my guard isn't were it should have been.

 

-New tools, they are different, especially the "bump" position, doubly

especially when pulling a bulge. I should have played with them more at

an easier venue. They climb well, but it is hard/desperate to drive a

piton with them. I think that I'll carry a third tool for piton

placement in the future on trad mixed.

 

Humbling to fall on a lead that you did the first ascent of, and have

climbed a half dozen times sinse ...

 

Redman Plummets

 

Barry Blanchard

 

_______________________________________________

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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Joe,Good to see a Metis brother didn't bite the dust. Hope you get better soon.Remember be safe out there in them there hills.

 

Rob Cleveland

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Went up skiing on the Parkway today (Jan 3) on an east aspect in the trees, just getting to treeline.

 

AVALANCHES: we didn't see much in the way of activity today although some stuff has run in the storm, mostly out of steep gullies in cliffs. The Warden service has reported numerous avalanches to size 3 though, so we definitely kept out of runout areas and stayed in the trees.

 

SNOWPACK: About 130cm on the ground, with 30cm of that being storm snow from yesterday. There was a shear at the interface between the storm snow and the old surface (sudden planar - it popped off), but there was no slab in the storm snow where we were skiing below treeline. The rest of the snowpack felt well-settled with no major weak layers noted with probing. Lots of wind effect from the storm at treeline and in the alpine. Large cornices.

 

WEATHER: -5 at our high point (treeline) in the afternoon. Pretty much calm where we were although there was a bit of wind transport off the highest ridges. No new snow.

 

Mark Klassen

Mountain Guide

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For the most part I think that Barry is doing OK. Lot of soft tissue damage I believe but no broken bones. However at 48 you don't come around as quickly as you used to.

 

Back to Batoche

 

Wanted dead or Alive

Sir John A macDonald for the murder of Louis Reil

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This is most likely in response to the two yanks that had a piece of Iraq right here in Canada.

Joe

 

 

 

Hello Everyone,

 

On the Banff, Yoho, and Kootenay Public Avalanche Bulletin you will now see

information on any planned avalanche control work for the following day in

the Travel Conditions section. We hope this information will better help

you make alternate plans for the following day and further encourage ice

climbers, ski tourers, and boarders to check the bulletin the night before.

If you do not have access to a computer, you can hear a recording of the

forecast by calling 403-762-1460.

 

The controlled paths that affect the highways those that are marked by the

"no stopping avalanche area signs). These are:

Sunshine Paths: the control is sometimes done at night, but not all

targets can be done at night. Under normal circumstances, daytime

control is done at 1300 hours, as per the agreement with the Sunshine

Ski area. The slopes above Bourgeau Left are not controlled, but could

be affected during highly unstable conditions.

Kootenay National Park: Vermillion/Assiniboine Paths (local names), Mt.

Whymper (becoming a more common ski destination), Mt Wardle Paths

Yoho National Park:

Mt. Dennis: controlled paths affect the Field backroad and many of

the "beer" climbs: Pilsner Pillar, Carlsberg Column, Cascade

Kronenbourg, Heineken Hall, Labatt's Lane, Wild Cougar, Guinness

Gully, Guiness Stout, and High Test.

Mt. Field: path affects the ice climb Silk Tassle, Coalminer's

Daughter

Mt. Stephen: path affects Super Bock, Extra Light, Cool Spring,

Massey's,

4. Highway 93 N: paths are marked by the "no-stopping avalanche area"

highway signs and are not a common

destination for ski tourers or ice climbers.

 

 

Lisa Paulson, ACMG guide

Specialist, Mountain Safety Programs

Banff, Yoho, and Kootenay National Parks

 

_______________________________________________

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.

 

Edited by jmckay

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For better or for worse, there is now internet access at the Burnie

Glacier Chalet. When we arrived, there were 200 cm of snow on the

ground and amazing mushrooms had formed on the buildings. We received

22 cm in the last 24 hours and snowfall is continuing. The temperature

is steady around -5 degrees. There is a lot of wind transport from the

NW. We are hearing numerous avalanches from the steep north facing hut

cliffs. Ski cutting at the top of a 37 degree moraine slope yielded a

size 1.5 soft slab than ran fast and far. About 25 m wide and 5 to 15

cm deep. In less wind exposed areas, there was only sluffing. The foot

penetration was 90 cm. We saw evidence of past avalanches that

surprised me by their size. I have not dug a pit yet, but suspect that

we are mostly looking at instability in the storm snow. That is

getting to the point of being a concern. Skiing quality was excellent.

Alders and creeks are entirely filled in. No observations in the

alpine so far.

--

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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:lmao: Given the thread title, for a moment there I feared you'd joined the ranks of our periodic spamsters.

 

Thanks for your regular reports here. :tup:

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I would imagine that if you asked Oly or Timmay, that they could include this in some form or another directly onto CC.Com, depending on how much they wanted to code this weekend or hit some of the fresh pow-wow :tup: :tup:

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first prize, a date with joe

second prize, two dates with joe

 

what's the difference between an alpine guide and a rooster?

the rooster clucks defiance

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The Crew from the Canada/New Zealand Semester and I spent the last 3 days in the Healy Creek area (Jan 8-10). We skied in before the storm and noticed a large natural size 2 avalanche that had run well into the trees of the second major slide path.

 

During our stay we measured 50 cm of storm snow, moderate to strong winds at tree line and heard numerous natural avalanches through out the storm. This new snow brought the total snow depth to close to 2 meters at tree line...not bad for this area at this time of year. We saw boot top to knee deep trail breaking in lots of wind effected snow. On our ski out today we avoided the two major slide paths by going lower than the regular summer trail.

 

Be careful in the next few days!

 

Jesse de Montigny

Assistant Ski guide

Assistant Alpine Guide

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The arctic air has arrived and temperatures have dropped to -18

degrees in the alpine. Winds were light from the E today. Today we ski

cut a size 1 and a size 1.5 slab in a steep wind affected moraine

slope. Our profiles show a consistent easy shear about 20 cm down and

another harder shear about 30-40 cm down. We saw no new natural

activity, but the visibility was not great yet. Older activity would

have been covered and blown in by the strong winds and snowfalls of

the last few days. We saw some older slabs from under cornices. There

seem to be no deep instabilities. We recommend to be cautious in steep

windloaded slopes. Skiing quality is excellent.

 

Mark Bender and Christoph Dietzfelbinger

--

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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Skied a loop through the E col/Circle Lk/Spearhead Gl area with Jia today. Yesterdays 100+ km winds made the snow surface pretty variable (wind slabs) but we did find good skiing high on a W aspect of Spearhead Gl. Temps are getting cool < -15.

Saw 1 natural avalanche off the N aspect of Spearhead Pk. Blackcomb patrol's explosives had released a few unsupported slabs above the Blackcomb Glacier in the AM.

Dug a pit in a W aspect slope on the Spearhead Glacier - found easy and moderate mostly planar results in the upper 50cm of storm snow. Skiing was quite good low in Husume.

I'm thinking the Hazard/Stability in the Alpine is Considerable/Fair for the area we skied in.

 

Dave Sarkany, Ski Guide

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Very strong winds from the west in the alpine today quickly loaded lee

slopes. We cut several small avalanches in steep rolls above 1400 m.

It was only -9 at 1400 m, but -13 at the lodge and 1000 m. There are

now numerous windslabs lurking in lee features. Skiing quality is

still very good in the trees, but wind affected in the alpine.

--

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

 

 

 

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From Dec 30 to Jan 13 Icefall lodge received 186 cm mainly in 20 cm intervals. The snow quality was amazing though made for difficult travel at times. The Snowpack upon arrival was found to be well settled and stable. There were some instabilities in storm snow interfaces earlier in the week that were subsequently strengthened through settling and bonding. Throughout the 2 week period we only saw evidence of climax avalanche activity during storm and shortly after with a few Skier controlled soft slab size 1 to 1.5 on steep unsupported and cross loaded feature that later in second week was no longer reactive. Two wind events created surprisingly very little isolated alpine soft slabs which many are now diffused by a week of cool temps and continued settling. Coverage from Treeline to Alpine was 240cm to 3Meters. Crevasse well bridged and filled in. The Arctic high has caused some faceting 15-20 cm down especially in shallow and wind exposed affected, though it seemed to be a fairly good bond.

 

Conclusion: Very stable snowpack from alpine to below treeline, some isolated soft slabs lurking in heavily lee and crossloaded zones. The major hazard at this point I suspect will be from the fact that the snowpack is so well settled as a single unit that a very large trigger such as a cornice or high explosive could trigger a major event down to ground on steep unsupported features or where the ground cover is ice for example. There are large cornices which held in the cold snap and will become I suspect an important hazard to note when the forecasted temperatures begin to rise early this week. Totally amazing skiing, pow and terrain, YO!

Eric Dumerac

ACMG Assis. Ski Guide/Assis. Alpine Guide

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Skied to the upper end of Hospital Bowl today to do a profile to ground.

Temperatures were -18 at 2540 meters, with light wind, and sunshine. Of

note, there is an easy shear down 25cm within the storm snow (sudden

collapse), however the surface slab does not yet seem cohesive enough to

propagate - yet. The mid-pack was very strong, however the rain crust from

November is still persisting. Although shears are hard, they are clean and

fast when they do fail. Heavy loads such as cornice fall might be enough

to propagate large avalanches on this layer still. The snowpack has

settled considerably, from nearly hip deep last week, to boot top today.

 

Syl Forest

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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Skiing in the Fernie ski area "near country" for the last week. When

I left there was still a fair amount of wind effect on all aspects

due to the southerly winds during the storm and northerly winds when

the arctic air moved in. These variable winds formed atypical loading

patterns, leaving bits of hard wind slab all over the place. However,

these slabs never seemed very reactive to skis and only large loads

such as cornice falls were triggering them earlier in the week. That

said, there were large cornices looming over most NE slopes. When I

left on Saturday the thinking was that the wind slabs were weakening

with the cold temperatures and that they are less likely to propagate

as a result.

 

In some north aspect areas there was also a surface hoar layer buried

about 70cm down that was generally unreactive to tests. South slopes

had plenty of buried crusts. The November crust was not widespread in

Fernie and as a result the area was not included in the recent CAA

avalanche warning.

 

We were avoiding areas with large cornices above, thinner snowpack

areas, and unsupported terrain.

 

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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Louise Falls Jan 12th: Very cold and brittle. The left side of the pillar was

well hooked out. Jeff Relph tried the right side the same day, and found the ice

to be extremely hard...and noted it was steeper than the left as well. The last

pitch was quite wet.

 

Weeping Wall Jan 13th: Very fragile surface conditions. Lots of hacking through

eggshell like surface to get placements. We came down after starting up pitch

3. Went up Sniveling Gulley afterwards. Waste deep trail breaking between ice

pitches (low density snow). The last pitch had similar qualities to Left

Hand....lots of chopping through ice layers for placements.

 

Guiness Gulley Jan 14th: Heavy trail breaking up to the climb through low

density snow. Once again the ice quality was very poor, and very similar to the

weeping wall. Quality of pitch 3 is unknown (probably poor) as the first 2

pitches were quite time consuming.

 

 

Temperatures were warming to -17 on Guinness Gulley today.

 

Aaron Beardmore

Mountain Guide

 

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_______________________________________________

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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Took a mid day jaunt up and down Evening ridge, above the access road to

Whitewater ski area.

Nice and sunny and temperatures steady near -12 C. I dug a pit in an open

area below treeline at 1580m (5200'), facing SW. Some easy compression test

results down 10cm above and below a thin (2mm) crust were not a big concern,

being shallow and underlying only loose powder snow.

The surface hoar buried on new year's day was found 55cm below the surface,

not reactive to my first 2 column tests, and shearing reluctantly in the

hard range on the third try.

Ski penetration was 15-20cm, Ski quality and snow stability was good, all in

all a sweet little tour.

 

Joel McBurney Ski Guide

 

_________________________________________________________________

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_______________________________________________

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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Matt Mueller and I enjoyed a slog-alicious day on the Wapta (Jan 16). We did the so-called "mini" Wapta from Bow Lake to Peyto Lake. Weather at Bow Lake at 8:15am was -14 C with broken skies and light west wind. On the Wapta itself the wind was moderate to strong also from the west. Most of the track to Bow Hut was blown over but trail breaking was easy on stiff wind crust. Above Bow Hut on the glacier, 1 cm of snow over a stiff crust made for easy travel. Ski quality down the Peyto Glacier was variable with a combination of half-decent dust-on-crust turns interspersed with difficult breakable crust. The Peyto Glacier has good snow coverage down the middle. The crevasse sections are obvious and easy to avoid. Once off the glacier, we boot packed up wind scoured moraine past the glaciology station then were able to ski crusty snow down the moraines to the lake. Good travel on Peyto Lake with 5cm of snow over the ice but once in the trees we floundered in bottomless facets back up to the highway. All in all, a fine day of touring but not the place to go if good pow turns are what you desire.

 

Sean Isaac

Assistant Alpine Guide

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Rupert Wedgwood and I spent the last 4 days (Jan 16-19) with a Warden

School in Roger's Pass skiing off Mt. Fidelity.

 

The snowpack in the area is approximately 250cm-300cm and very well settled

with no significant layers in the lower snowpack. On January 16th the

surface hoar was buried by about 15 cm of very low density (20-30 kg/m3)

cold dendrites that mixed right into the predominately needle shaped

surface hoar crystals. This surface was sluffing fast and far but not

slabbing at all except on ridgecrests in the alpine where a thin wind slab

formed on the immediate lee features only.

About 20cm of denser (70-100 kg/m3) fell on the night of the 18th and

morning of the 19th creating an unstable upside down thin soft slab. The

denser snow was failing naturally on all steep rolls and banks but was only

failing at the dense/less dense interface and not digging down to the Jan

16 layer.

 

As the storm snow settles some more, the Jan 16 layer will likely become

the active layer, but due to the nature of the surface hoar and the way it

was buried, it will probably not be a long-term persistent weakness. It

will definitely require some watching in the short term, however. With the

forecast for a couple of low intensity storms and warming temperatures,

conditions will be ripe for a skier triggerable slab condition.

 

Brad White

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. Pass

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