Cornice Failure


billyneilson , Friday 21st February, 2020 5:50AM

Great travel conditions. No signs of instability. Snow still dry on all aspects as it remained cold and windy in alpine. Other than the large slide noted, we only saw old size 1’s from previous storm coming from steep rocky start zones on northerly aspects.

Snow conditions were: Wind affected, Powder. Weather conditions were: Cold, Windy, Sunny. We rode: Alpine slopes, Mellow slopes. We avoided: Sunny slopes. Riding quality was good.

Avalache Conditions: Slab avalanches today or yesterday.


On a sunny afternoon tour of the Gorman Lake snowmobile area when we came across this slide. Spoke with others in area and no one sure if it happened late On the 19th or earlier on the 20th. Turned on beacons just in case, no signals detected. Looked like a cornice failure as they are looming large and getting beat by the sun. Also moderate winds from the SW loading whatever snow is available for transport along with solar radiation may have caused the failure (speculation). What you can’t see from the photo is the debris took the gully and turned with the terrain feature and ran a further 100 m down slope. Just a reminder of the spooky snow pack in the Purcell’s and the consequence of a large load to a thin area. Travel conditions are pretty easy with foot pen about 15 - 20 cm then very consolidated finger to pencil resistance in the top meter of the snowpack (we dug down a meter just to show a travel companion what a snow pit was). Sledders were getting after it and high-marks were getting past the fans and up into start zones.


51.33162674 -117.20048808

Cornice Failure

Source: Avalanche Canada MIN