Sifton South Couloir

Glacier National Park

Beyond Our Peak , Wednesday 10th February, 2021 7:15PM

If you can bear the cold snap, you're in for a treat. We spent our day hunting down a couloir on the south face of Mt Sifton, going up through the Hermit uptrack. We started getting local whumpfs at the toe of the Sifton Glacier where a 4F wind slab was buried under 10cm of wind-blown snow. Along the way, we spotted a few couloirs (S-facing) that would offer good skiing pending stability checks. The looker's left couloir had a crown at 2750m in the guts of the 50deg couloir. Upon closer inspection, the crown was 20-80cm deep and 10m wide. The wind slab avalanche was 48+ hr old. It had run its whole track, all the way down to the Sifton Glacier. The bootpack up the W ridge was part facetted, part hard wind-blown snow, part crust. We measured -23C at 2700m with moderate winds from the NW - PF: 0-50cm depending on the location along the ridge. Once on top of the looker's left couloir, the entrance was visibly wind-loaded but not quite slabby. After 30 meters of skiing, we noticed an old wind slab on the skier's right flank - lee of both the SW and NW winds from the last few days. The slab did not crack; the ensuing sluff was slow but chunky, signs of the wind slab breaking down due to the frigid temps. The couloir was peppered with hidden sharks and covered in wind-affected, grabby snow. Not so great skiing. It got better at TL and BTL.

Snow conditions were: Hard, Deep powder, Wind affected, Powder. Weather conditions were: Cold, Foggy, Cloudy, Sunny. We rode: Alpine slopes, Steep slopes.

Avalache Conditions: Whumpfing or drum-like sounds or shooting cracks.

Source: Avalanche Canada MIN