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| | |-+  December 12, 2014 Lg Natural Whistler Avalanche
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Author Topic: December 12, 2014 Lg Natural Whistler Avalanche  (Read 24700 times)
avajane
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December 12, 2014 Lg Natural Whistler Avalanche
« on: 12/12/14, 06:23 PM »

Posting this here because more people look at these reports, and this certainly applies to backcountry travel. Of course you can move it if it makes more sense.

I've been up north for the opening week and again all this week. This season has been a wild one with the weather changing dramatically back and forth. The Whistler Avalanche reports have been strange to read some days this year. At one point they said we were having a very good start to the season and that everything was solid. Then we got a crust on the 28th of November and another and another. But......then it rained all the way to the bottom of the pack and they said things like next to rocky areas the snow would not be supportive. Then it started snowing again at the top of the mountain day after day. All reports changed to HIGH and they said that though many of the crusts were probably gone, conditions were still extremely variable and terrain dependent. On Thursday I skied 10" of light powder under the Harmony lift. It got heavy by the bottom. Today I skied 12" of heavier wind blown stuff that seemed to be very well bonded. I was doing runs on Rat Fink which has some steeps and drop offs. This was right at the Roundhouse elevation. 45 degree snow didn't budge (only skied well on the steep going fast) It was stiff.  They opened a small part of the Alpine for hiking by about 1030 but I had to go home. As I was leaving I took an I phone shot of the biggest avalanche crown I've ever seen at Whistler - in Whistler Bowl! This afternoons report says that they bombed it yesterday and got nothing. It ran NATURAL overnight. Their estimate was 150 - 200 cm crown! It's hard for me to understand how they can bomb a slope like this (several times already this year) and then get such a deep natural release from just one night of storm. Scary for me... Sorry I didn't bring a better camera.


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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
steveski
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Re: December 12, 2014 Lg Natural Whistler Avalanche
« Reply #1 on: 12/12/14, 10:45 PM »

Thanks for the report. Very interesting chain of weather events for such an unusual slide to occur. Any idea on the slide path distance?
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avajane
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Re: December 12, 2014 Lg Natural Whistler Avalanche
« Reply #2 on: 12/13/14, 08:58 AM »

No, but I bet it filled in all the crevices and covered the boulders in the lower bowl! I'll check with a local blog and see. I'm sure there will be lots of photos today as the lift was scheduled to open.
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
avajane
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Re: December 12, 2014 Lg Natural Whistler Avalanche
« Reply #3 on: 12/13/14, 09:17 AM »

Wayneflannavalancheblog.com has more pictures.
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
Doug Hutchinson
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Re: December 12, 2014 Lg Natural Whistler Avalanche
« Reply #4 on: 12/13/14, 08:04 PM »

Avajane, did you ski there today and if so, how was it? Seeing that crown and knowing Peak would be half cleaned out for opening day made me decide not to stick around today after a pretty decent yesterday.

No avy danger was observed at the Whistler Olympic Nordic Centre today, probably because we were skiing on last years snow they stockpiled and recently spred. Bleak anywhere lower than Roundhouse now.
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avajane
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Re: December 12, 2014 Lg Natural Whistler Avalanche
« Reply #5 on: 12/13/14, 10:33 PM »

I had to go home yesterday but another Tay guy said he was coming up for the weekend so watch for a post. I'm sure Friday's new snow was gone fast and I wouldn't have gone out of bounds to ski at the same level of that slide. I think Callahan was a good idea. I heard about your "ditch" snow.
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
runningclouds
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Re: December 12, 2014 Lg Natural Whistler Avalanche
« Reply #6 on: 12/15/14, 07:03 PM »

I saw it from the chair on Sunday and while it is impressive the crown averaged 100 cm (my hands were freezing so no photos). There were already skiers in the bowl so my estimates are pretty close. Only one short section was approaching anywhere close to an adult height, and sections close to the chairlift were about 50-80 cm. The debris did not seem to be a lot, I'd think that avy that size would fill the crevasse slot at the bottom but it is still quite deep and open.

Skied Oboe Basin, fun yo-yos, mostly powder.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/runningclouds/sets/72157647447570404/

We saw large avalanches off Disease Ridge and in Body Bag Bowl (unsure if natural, skier-triggered or controlled) on the S aspects but nothing on the N aspects of Pattison or Musical Bumps. Skied out all the way to the village on mostly artificial snow, there is very little starting around 1500m. Praying for more snow, get back over here you damn jet stream!
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avajane
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Re: December 12, 2014 Lg Natural Whistler Avalanche
« Reply #7 on: 12/15/14, 08:27 PM »

Looks like you had lots of good snow off Flute and Obeo. I don't know if you've seen it, but wayneflannavalancheblog.com has posted more pictures including the Whistler Ski Patrol's Fracture Line Profile. Wayne's initial comments were that it was a natural 3.0, but the profile report called it a 2.5. It said the crown was 160 cm to 210 cm and was 70 meters wide. It ran to just above the lake. It ran mostly on the November 20th bed surface.

Wayne's blog also showed a nasty report on a natural slide in the Gun Barrel's off Harmony Ridge. It went to the ground! and the patroller was still searching for an answer on what he called a "spooky" slide. Very good reading and pictures from a long time Whistler Patroller.
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
discostew
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Re: December 12, 2014 Lg Natural Whistler Avalanche
« Reply #8 on: 12/15/14, 10:26 PM »

Nice pics as usual Martin!  We should go for a tour sometime!

I was in the Circle Glacier area off of Blackcomb on Sunday.  We got some decent turns in but there was a lot of wind affected stuff.  I figured we wanted to get as high as possible for decent snow and didn't think musical bumps would be high enough, but it looks like I was wrong!  We re-entered the resort via Bodybag and saw that avy off of Disease Ridge up close.  It was huge.  Wayne Flann's blog said it was natural.

I was pretty confused about the moderate avy rating over the weekend.  Massive natural avys all over the place - Whistler bowl, Boomer bowl, Gun Barrels, Disease...  but a moderate rating?


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avajane
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Re: December 12, 2014 Lg Natural Whistler Avalanche
« Reply #9 on: 12/15/14, 11:08 PM »

The Avy rating went from High to Considerable to Moderate very fast. My thought at the time was they figured everything had already ran. But how could you think that - after watching a slope go natural the day after dynamite didn't do anything to it! I wonder if the rest of the corridor was a Moderate rating for the weekend, or if it was just the terrain adjacent to WB.
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
runningclouds
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Re: December 12, 2014 Lg Natural Whistler Avalanche
« Reply #10 on: 12/16/14, 04:27 AM »

It said the crown was 160 cm to 210 cm and was 70 meters wide.
Yes I did see the report on Wayne's blog. So I was prepared to see this huge crown and it was a bit of a let down. The height of the crown was quite variable. If the report writer meant 160 was the lowest and 210 the highest then I definitely disagree. The crown below the lift was not more than 50 cm. For what it is worth, the crown went across the whole bowl which is closer to 150m. Anyway whatever the measurements if a skier triggered this and were caught it would have been a very nasty ride.

I too was thinking about the ratings, on our N facing side we were skiing pretty stable snow, there were no naturals observed, no whumphing, no settlement, no cracking, no sluffing, pole probing did not detect any hard layers. Kind of moderate hazard. But looking across the valley at the South aspects it did not "seem" moderate at all. For what it is worth the Aspect pie chart left out the S and SW aspect, which is pretty much Body Bag and Disease Ridge orientation. I take it as a reminder to put as much faith into field observations as I do with the reports the professionals write for us.

Yes, Kaston, let's go soon!
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avajane
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Re: December 12, 2014 Lg Natural Whistler Avalanche
« Reply #11 on: 12/16/14, 09:27 AM »

You're certainly right about the width of Whistler Bowl. If his width measurements are off by more than 100 percent,  it doesn't make me feel real good about the other measurements. I noticed in the pictures people did seem to be much taller than the crown in some spots. Since this was essentially an inbounds avalanche, I'm surprised that they would overstate it's size. I would have thought the opposite. Whatever...I'm glad the snow you skied didn't slide. 
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
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