Good skiing up on high norths

Divide Creek & Glacier, Banff National Park Lake Louise

Ken BÉLANGER_Elevation Guides , Saturday 8th April, 2023 8:30PM

Searching for dry, crust-free snow, I guided the long trek up Divide Creek today. We nearly made it to the ½ marathon distance.

On this straight and mostly protected north facing terrain, the overnight temperature crust was strong and present until ~1900 metres in the morning. We found good quality dry snow above ~2200 metres; albeit with some sections of wind press, wind slab, and intermittent buried wind slabs. Route choice and terrain decisions were prominent.

Spot probing in the moraines next to the glacier revealed a shallow snowpack of 70-130 cm. Up high below the cliffs of Mt. Whyte (lee terrain feature) we found a significantly deeper and more settled pack up to 220 cm.

We observed howling winds on ridge tops, with a few directly observed loose dry spindrift avalanches pouring off the cliffs. We gave these cliffs a good berth.

The crust had melted for our afternoon ski out, but the snow was still supportive down to the road level at ~1700 metres.

This is the tricky in-between season for the spring snowpack. It'll get worse for a few days before it gets better.

Elevation Guides

Source: Mountain Conditions