Mt. Hector Attempt

Banff Yoho & Kootenay National Park

offtherockriley , Sunday 21st March, 2021 6:45PM

Attempt on Mt. Hector today. Turned around 250m below the summit due to deteriorating visibility. The glacier was beginning to build thick wind slabs. (30+cms) Not a good place to be the next couple days. Powder and high wind made for a very slow descent off the glacier! Below the glacier the snow was wind stripped and very hard. It made skinning difficult. We opted to the bare rocks on climbers right. From the road to the waterfalls the 10cm of storm snow sat nicely on a crust layer below. Made for good travel and fairly easy climbing through the crux. John the dog made it just as high as us! Such a good boy!

Snow conditions were: Crusty, Deep powder, Hard, Wind affected. Weather conditions were: Cloudy, Cold, Windy. We rode: Alpine slopes, Mellow slopes. Riding quality was ok.

Snowpack

Didn’t do a full snowpack analysis just took in our observations as we went. Below treeline the new 10cms of snow was sitting nicely on a crust layer. Great skinning up to the falls. As we gained elevation the snowpack became very windstripped. Skinning became an issue. We opted for the rocks. On the glacier all that snow from lower elevations were beginning to form well bonded wind slabs up to 30ish cms in depth. Not a good place to be for the next couple days. Only in one place did I randomly come across some depth hoar below a moraine a couple hundred meters below the glacier. Avi observations - Avalanche debris from a few days ago below Mt. Andromache on climbers left before the waterfalls. Wind slabs beginning to form on the glacier. Other than that we didn’t see or hear any kind of avalanche activity.

Weather

Whiteout conditions stopped us before the summit block. Wind was strong above 2200m. But very strong on the glacier. The overnight and Saturday/Friday snow was about 10cms. But high on the glacier the wind was depositing a lot of snow to about 30+cms. On the return, the clouds lessened and the temperature noticeably increased. About -15 at 5am. Probably around -5 at the car at 2pm.