High marks, Low temps

Northwest Inland

AvCan Northwest , Monday 20th December, 2021 3:45PM

Another cold but beautiful day sledding in the Babines. Great to see tracks from people maximising the current conditions. The high marks (see photos) are epic! They’re in the kind of terrain we are going to think twice about or avoid in the next few days though with high winds and new snow in the forecast expected to create wind slab avalanches. We saw moderate SW winds at ridgetop transporting snow today. There has already been a lot of wind effect, which you can see from windward alpine slopes that are stripped and lee slopes that have sastrugi, wind effect, or small cornices on them. (Definitions here https://www.avalanche.ca/glossary#sastrugi) We dug on a NE facing slope in the alpine and found 110cm total snow. We did not get any Extended Column Test (ECT) results, but had one Compression Test (CT) result on moderate taps 25cm deep (CT M RP); wind slab failing on top of a layer of small facets. Boot and sled penetration here is 5-10cm so there is some snow available for transport. The snow surface is wind affected in the alpine but in the treeline and below there is surface hoar preserved.

Snow conditions were: Powder, Wind affected. Weather conditions were: Cold, Sunny, Windy. We rode: Alpine slopes, Convex slopes, Open trees, Steep slopes. Riding quality was good.