Sir Donald - Macdonald Traverse
Glacier National Park
Beyond Our Peak , Wednesday 10th March, 2021 9:30AM
We did the Sir Donald to Macdonald Traverse passing through Uto-Donald Col, both Avalanche Glaciers and the Banana Couloir / Crossover Bowl. On the way, the usual daytime spring warming was felt. The surface snow was moist below 2300m on southerly aspects and had a 2-3cm (K-hard) solar crust in the AM. A constant, light wind from the SW cooled the surface snow above 2300m, resulting in a thin breakable crust on SW/S/SE aspects. By 12PM, we gained the Uto-Donald Col (2540m) where winds were moderate from the SW. A party ahead of us triggered a Sz 1 wind slab at 2540m on the NE aspect above the Uto Glacier (lee of SW winds) - they turned back. We pressed on, skiing the bed surface and found excellent powder past the immediate lee (and no slab properties). We ascended a small col (2260m) to descend a small N-facing couloir onto the Eagle Glacier. We ski-cut a Sz 0.5 soft slab with the top 20cm coming down as fast sluff. Again, excellent dry powder in sheltered northerly aspects. We proceeded to ascend the Avalanche Glacier where we measure an HS of 320+ cm. Ridgetop winds were moderate to strong from SW judging from the large plume of snow transport. We observed very little slab properties on the Avalanche North Glacier (directly lee of the ridge). Finally, we found some more excellent powder in the Banana Couloir.
Snow conditions were: Crusty, Powder, Wind affected. Weather conditions were: Cloudy, Sunny. Riding quality was amazing.
Avalache Conditions: Rapid temperature rise to near zero degrees or wet surface snow.