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NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2017 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  March 2017 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  March 19, 2017, cross post from NWAC obs
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Author Topic: March 19, 2017, cross post from NWAC obs  (Read 22189 times)

Posts: 605

Re: March 19, 2017, cross post from NWAC obs
« Reply #25 on: 03/23/17, 06:03 PM »

This time of year, for low elevation skiing in particular, I would be more reluctant to ski south facing slopes that are wind slabbed up than N ones..  Wouldn't they be more susceptible to instability due to more heating?
ditto persistent deep pack issues that could be stepped down to...

Posts: 605

Re: March 19, 2017, cross post from NWAC obs
« Reply #26 on: 03/23/17, 06:39 PM »

I've seen ski tracks that started from a traverse onto a slope and below a short distance of cornice and have observed from the dropping of the cornice, pillow/slab immediately under the cornice, propagate resulting in the whole slope going.  So glad   nobody was below in harms way.  That is a very common place from my experience, to find instability when everything else is "blower"..  Not sure what  a pit or compression test/ext column  test would tell me about this very localized sleeper of a phenomenon -- that more times than I care to ever know, that are lurking above people, who are primed for their freshies just below.  {wind transport/eddying affect or effect-- seems to form immediately under cornices}

Posts: 32

Re: March 19, 2017, cross post from NWAC obs
« Reply #27 on: 03/25/17, 10:39 AM »

TAY !  Thanks for a great discussion. It's been a pretty fantastic  snow year. The last week of February and the first two weeks of March especially so with stable cold weather conditions and fresh snow almost every night. 

In the North Columbia and Cariboo the Avy situation became much more of a concern around the fifth or sixth of March as all of the new snow stressed a buried rain crust. reported at that time that the snowpack had reached a "threshold" .   This was not welcome news as I was just leaving for a week long hut trip in the interior. 

That trip, as it turns out it was completely epic. The snow was thigh deep and well consolidated.  The snowpack sloughed is places as we skied but we did not trigger anything that ran large or long, or stepped down,  or made us question our decision to be out. 

On Sunday the 12th ( the last day of our tour) it warmed up above zero essentially ending a season that was all about the steep and deep.

Since then the mountains have become a disaster zone. On a recent trip back from Alberta a friend of mine told me that the mountains in glacier and the Monashees have all slid. Carnage was the word he used. There has been a lot of slide  activity in the Whistler Corridor is well. NWAC is reporting similar conditions n the cascades.  Nobody I know is doing any riding right now.

I'm not sure but maybe the season is over for me. The words that are using to describe the current snowpack situation are "historic and unprecedented"

All of this beta from, nwac, tay and observations from the field have given me reason to pause and while I was tempted to go poke  around at Mount Baker this morning  I made the decision to stay home, drink coffee, and read trip reports. To me the reward  just isn't worth the risk at this time of year under these conditions.   


Posts: 605

Re: March 19, 2017, cross post from NWAC obs
« Reply #28 on: 03/25/17, 05:40 PM »

copy that!

Posts: 2098

Re: March 19, 2017, cross post from NWAC obs
« Reply #29 on: 04/03/17, 05:33 PM »

Would it be safe to say that those folks standing on that Ruby cornice combined with other recent loads (energy input), even further if down the ridge, may have provided the tipping point for the energy requiried to trigger that cornice?  

I don't think it would be safe to say that.

No one was standing on the cornice when it fell. The skiers on the ridge were at some distance from the cornice at the time it toppled. It's not clear to me whether anyone had skied near the cornice during the day. (I wasn't there, but I know party members who were.)

If there was any skier contribution to the cornice failure, it was separated from the actual event by both time and space.  My conclusion is that it was just the wrong day to be up there, but I don't think anyone could have predicted what happened.

Posts: 828

Re: March 19, 2017, cross post from NWAC obs
« Reply #30 on: 04/06/17, 09:27 AM »

For those that know the skiing history of ruby mt i ask-

Would it have been a common occurance to have had 3 seperate groups stacked up in the avalanche terrain there before tay trip reports sent people out hunting for skin tracks in areas previously off the radar?

I think the Tay effect has respectfully been replaced by the Volken effect.

My experiments have revealed the Tay effect wears off once a trip date becomes stale. They have a shelf life of about 2 weeks to a month. Or far less if your trace gets erased.

Volkens book is the opposite. People sit on their toilets reading it daily, scheming...Waiting for that window.

Very casual observation is that you are more likely to find people on routes out of Martin volkens new guide book. Ruby would be one. I've noticed a few others. The recent parking situation at Arrowhead/Jim hill could probably be due to increased interest as well. People out doing the routes has increased, while reporting is half what it was.

Doesn't bother me, I think it's a good thing. If I want to see someone, I go to one of the tours I know are in his book. If not, I go somewhere else.  Also think people are more likely/better off following the description from a trusted/trained guide then some random kook on the internet. Less likely to deviate from the tour the have been pining over, and follow/poach a random skin track.

I don't own it, only flipped through, but you can preview it online.

I have a winter climbing in Scotland guide book on my toilet.

« Last Edit: 04/06/17, 09:36 AM by alecapone » Logged

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