The Aftermath of Northerly Winds


drew.lyness , Tuesday 12th April, 2022 7:10PM

Drew Lyness <> Our main goal today was to find what shelter we could from the outgoing north winds- so we opted for southerly aspects in the lee of Taiya. With north facers wind hammered, and solar aspects potentially crusty and loaded, we didn't have high expectations but it was too nice a day not to tour. We traveled through a lot of terrible, hard, crusty and wind effected snow to reach our south facing objective. We observed a recent size 2 from steep northerly terrain triggered by a cornice fall, we also saw some evidence of small wet loose avalanche activity on solar aspects. The snow did improve above 1500m with pockets of wind pressed powder above a crust. Surfaces were variable though with breakable crust and 4f/1f wind slab dominating. Although the slab remained unreactive as we skinned up, we noted it was getting harder and deeper to 20cm+ of 1f hardness. As we were questioning these changes and our travel plan, our decision to ski a well supported, fairly planar slope was vindicated when at around 1700m we triggered a sizeable woomph immediately after transitioning to boot pack on a steep 35+degrees slope. The slab was stubborn and fortunately did not move downhill, but it left an impression. The lesson was that boots penetrated into the stress bulb where skis had not, and we skiied down from this high point with reasonable turns on wind pressed surfaces until the crust. Winds remained moderate northerly early in the morning, and seemed to switch from the south into summit creek drainage in the pm. A lovely day for a walk but riding conditions for Easter are not looking great - we could use warm temps and a healing corn cycle soon!

Snow conditions were: Crusty, Wind affected. Weather conditions were: Cold, Sunny, Windy. We rode: Alpine slopes, Steep slopes, Sunny slopes. We avoided: Convex slopes. Riding quality was ok.

Avalache Conditions: Slab avalanches today or yesterday. 30cm + of new snow, or significant drifitng, or rain in the last 48 hours. Whumpfing or drum-like sounds or shooting cracks.