Chephren Couloir

Meshwell Boschmann

After getting a report of great conditions n a north facing couloir on Patterson yesterday, we decided to go for the looker's left Chephren Couloir today. A look at it with binoculars from the parkway revealed that it had went SZ 2.5 sometime recently and that there wasn't too much residual cornice hazard. The debris was covered with 10-15 cm of new snow so it had most likely cleaned itself out about a week ago during the storm or the strong wind event that followed. Few fresh cornice chunks from the last couple days were also noticed on the fan but had not triggered anything in the couloir. We decided that we were comfortable with the little cornice hazard left and we transitioned to bootpacking. Boot penetration was roughly boot top deep (30-35cm) for the bottom half and went to about knee deep (50cm) for the top except for the last 30m that were in the thigh to waist deep range (70-90cm). Many 60-80cm deep hasty hand shear pits down to a well settled firm layer (Dec 26 layer?) were done along the way. The snow was very right side up 4F (top 20-25cm) to 1F over the firmer layer 60-80cm down on which it seemed to be fairly well bonded; i.e. hard pull with a very resistant planar shear where the snow had not been affected by sloughs. An old buried soft windslab could just be felt before topping out. The ski down was excellent for a couloir with some sloughing for the top 50m and not much below that. All in all, the right balance between reasonable boot penetration on the way up and great ski quality on the way down. A look at the looker's right couloir (Kumbaya?) after getting back to the car showed that it had slid SZ 2 in the last 72 hours and still had much cornice hazard left. Excellent day!

Snow conditions were: Powder. Weather conditions were: Cold, Sunny. We rode: Alpine slopes, Steep slopes. Riding quality was good.

Source: Avalanche Canada MIN