Long scenic walk - Halcyon - Fraser ridge

Yukon

Drew Lyness , Tuesday 28th December, 2021 8:25PM

Took advantage of relatively warmer temperatures to go for a long alpine tour all the way up Fraser ridge from Halcyon - mainly on NE & E aspects. The north winds did not pick up today as forecast, barely a light breeze at ridge top. However, those northerlies have clearly been busy destroying our ski conditions over Christmas and very little soft snow was encountered through all the terrain we covered. Hard surfaces and breakable crust are now widespread and made for challenging skiing on a combination of sastugi, wind board, and old wind slab. Once again outflow winds have reached far down into Fraser chutes and ski conditions did not improve significantly until very low below treeline. We also observed some near surface faceting at treeline, and generally noted the variety of surfaces could make for tricky avalanche conditions when we get more snow. There is now little snow left avaliable for transport in this zone. Some old n.a debris to size 1 was visible near ridge top on isolated steep features and convexities. We also experienced isolated whumphing above 1500m. With uncertainty remaining deep in our snowpack and limited recent observations from alpine elevations, we choose to link low-angle, well anchored slopes & benches to gain the ridge and avoided any terrain where a transition from thin to thick snowpack might exist. The highlight of today was some very spectacular northern midwinter light and a good long tour to work off some holiday excesses. If you're just looking for good turns though, this isn't the week.

Snow conditions were: Crusty, Hard, Wind affected. Weather conditions were: Sunny. We rode: Alpine slopes, Mellow slopes. We avoided: Convex slopes, Steep slopes. Riding quality was terrible.

Avalache Conditions: Whumpfing or drum-like sounds or shooting cracks.