Pulpit 1 and 2

Banff Yoho & Kootenay National Park

Meshwell Boschmann , Sunday 3rd January, 2021 6:05PM

Snowing heavily over Kicking Horse Pass and Lake Louise on the drive but stopped abruptly shortly before getting to our destination. Only 5-10cm overnight at the trailhead. 35cm ski penetration at treeline. An 80cm deep hand shear test in a sheltered location on a south aspect at 2050m produced one easy irregular shear down 30cm in the storm snow (slight density change), a moderate irregular shear down 55cm (Dec 13th?) and a hard resistant planar shear down 70cm (Dec 7th layer?). The top 70cm was very progressive F to 4F to 1F. The snowpack was well settled below that with the usual Rockies basal facets. The wind was initially calm but picked up from seemingly all directions at 10:00 as we were topping Pulpit 1. Wind affect was evident on the upper 25m but still very soft and ski cuts of steep unsupported features did not produce any result. We did two laps and moved to a steep north facing chute on Pulpit 2. The low angled very top of that chute had a 4F windslab but this wind affect completely disappeared before reaching the roll. We did an 100cm deep hand shear test and did not get any result; very progressive the whole way without discernable layers. A ski cut where the angle steepens (convex) did not produce any result either. The shred down was excellent! Pre-storm tracks could just be made out under the new snow near the bottom. We went back up Pulpit 1 and skied one of the pillowy skiers left shot. No sign of instability in the pillows. Great day in that area!

Snow conditions were: Powder. Weather conditions were: Windy, Cloudy. We rode: Convex slopes, Steep slopes, Open trees. We avoided: Alpine slopes. Riding quality was good.

Avalache Conditions: 30cm + of new snow, or significant drifitng, or rain in the last 48 hours.

Source: Avalanche Canada MIN