Glacier National Park
Demonic Pancake , Saturday 9th January, 2021 1:10AM
We planned on skiing Forever Young couloir. After assessing it, multiple factors made us back out of it. The snowpack was too variable and uncertain, it was already late in the day for that time of year, we saw some avalanches involving people the day before and we were thinking about that incident that happened there last year in very similar conditions. https://www.avalanche.ca/mountain-information-network/submissions/540f568f-5073-4518-b53a-630bc7964159 Our consolation price was to wrap up the young traverse, go to the summit and ski the 7 steps of paradise at sunset! That wasn't too terrible after all.😜
Snow conditions were: Wind affected, Powder. Weather conditions were: Warm, Sunny. We rode: Alpine slopes. We avoided: Steep slopes, Convex slopes. Riding quality was good.
Avalache Conditions: 30cm + of new snow, or significant drifitng, or rain in the last 48 hours. Slab avalanches today or yesterday.
We got to forever young couloir at around 2pm. The slope looked pristine and buttery! The perfect skiing conditions. No signs of sluffing, or debris of any kind all the way from top to bottom. That was the first sign that got me a bit worried as it means the slope didn't see any avalanche activity in a little while. We did some small pits, and hand sheers in multiple locations across the start zone. The top slab(10-15cm down) would produce very easy results and pop while digging. Second slab (1 finger hard) would consistently produce planar results with moderate force. (Still a hand sheer...) and seemed to be sitting on a layer of buried stelars 60 cm down We later built a t slot anchor and ski cut the slope on a belay as far down as 20m from the knuckle. We couldn't produce any results, not even on the top slab which was very easy on previous assessments. As we couldn't get anything to move, our line only got more suspicious. The snow pack along with with our tests suggested a lot of variability. We estimated the 60cm thick slab to potentially go down as a size 3 avalanche in steep couloir with high consequences. Even though the snow seemed way better lower down, and away from the start zone, the idea of having that uncertainty on top of us wasn't too appealing. We finally made the conservative choice of backing out after spending 45 minutes in there and not seeing anything move... 🤷
Source: Avalanche Canada MIN