London Ridge, Goat Range - conditions
Here is the latest Public Mountain Conditions Report for the London Ridge are in the goat Range of the Selkirks:
On Jan 2, fellow guides Ramin Sherkat and Joe Pavelich joined me for a ski tour at London ridge on the road between New Denver and Kaslo. The observations are now 48 hrs old but are still relevant.
It was a beautiful sunny day with an inversion warming temperatures at treeline and above creating moist snow at the surface and later a thin crust on southerly aspects.
Windslabs were found at ridge tops only from past moderate to strong northerly winds. One recently naturally released avalanche size 2 was observed on a steep North slope.
A snow profile at 1850m on a south aspect showed crusts at 50, 60 and 70cm down from the surface with the crust at 50cm being the sliding layer (uneven break) on an extended column test producing Hard result values. Snow depth was 130cm.
The snowpack is generally shallow and yet feels strong enough in most places. Where the weakness of the snowpack really shows is nearby smaller trees where sugary snow gives away easily and shallow areas near ridge tops and rocks.
Tree wells are definitely something to reckon with in this area!
London ridge is steep and exposed almost everywhere and we felt comfortable enough with the terrain exposure and stability tests results to continue on our ascent, but we all felt that large, unsupported, smooth planar slopes would be best left alone due to the presence of the crust 50cm down in the pack. Having said that, we skied the South facing avalanche path leading to Bear Lake without any problems. The best skiing was found on a East facing slope where the snow stayed cold and sheltered from the sun and wind.
The suncrust and faceted surface snow will now be covered with new snow and could become weak layers to watch in the future.
All the best for 2011!
Sylvain Hebert, ACMG Ski guide