Fraser Peak (Nov 19)
John Serjeantson , Saturday 20th November, 2021 8:00AM
Broke trail from the car up to the first bumps of the ridge on Fraser Peak. Day was overcast and extremely cold. Below treeline and immediately above we noticed no shooting cracks or whumpfs. We noticed no natural avalanches, except my partner said she could see some debris under a ridge with a small cornice. I couldn't see it personally but her eyesight is better and it easily could have been a small cornice collapse. Breaking trail was tiring through ~30cm of fresh snow. But once we reached ridgeline we notice one shooting crack on the east face of the ridge in very wind effected terrain and two sections on the ski down where we heard whumpfs (although one was at the base of the headwall slope and may have been the creek underneath). We performed a Column Test at ~1130m, above treeline, on a 22 deg slope facing North. We had results at CT7,11 and 12. Height of snow was 110cm with the first failure at 85cm from base, then 60cm, then finally failing on a crust ~30cm from base. Shear quality 'sudden collapse'. Despite the alarming CT we decided to ski the steep-ish slope on the headwall of the ridge, there is a small depression/open gully type thing between two bumps that is mostly low angle (image) however with the extremely flat light we were unable to dodge any rolls on the slope and, in hindsight, I would not ski that slope again in the same conditions with the iffy stability. Skiing back to the creek from there waa difficult. We followed fall line but even then the slope was too low angle with all the snow to ski, we ended up free heeling and 'walking' much of it.
Snow conditions were: Deep powder. Weather conditions were: Cloudy, Cold. We rode: Alpine slopes, Mellow slopes, Open trees. We avoided: Steep slopes. Riding quality was good.
Avalache Conditions: 30cm + of new snow, or significant drifitng, or rain in the last 48 hours. Whumpfing or drum-like sounds or shooting cracks.