South Monashee Conditions
The latest Public Mountain Conditions Report:
out for a day tour just SW of town today. a mixed bag of conditions.
air temp consistent around -12 throughout the day, with broken skies, cloud (we were in the clag for a bit), and occasional sunny breaks.
surface was a mix of newly fallen powder with skipen of 20cm, windpress & windslab 10-15cm thick. almost all areas had surface hoar 5-7mm in growth and was only absent in places of recent wind effect.
in the afternoon at ridgetop, winds were light from the West with gusts of moderate intensity. no snow transport was noted where we were, but large plumes were occasionally sighted around Begbie.
had a quick look at the top 120cm on a South aspect, 2200m. HS was 170 on average. we noted some Easy & Moderate PC shears in the top 20 - this was 4F recent snow, and 1 hard RP shear down 50cm in a thin layer of 4F sandwiched by 1F above & below. we could see the remnants of the early Dec suncrust here, about 100cm down, but we could not get any compression test results.
of note was some reactivity to ski cuts downslope from the ridge in a large gully feature which opened into a sheltered bowl. at the top was windpress & new snow over the old tracks. no reaction to ski tests. however, about 75m downslope, we encountered 4F to 1F slabs about 10-15cm thick. we could trigger these into small slides with easy (not aggressive) ski cuts. the largest of the 3 we cut out was only a size 1, but ran for a distance of about 50m on 30-35 deg terrain. we didn't expect them as we had no indication of these slabs (ski tracks were obscured in the whole gully feature) and the first one was a surprise. much different than what we saw at the entry to the gully. we had to reevaluate our descent and decided that the size of the avalanches were manageable & we had a number of safe zones to work with. anything bigger & or with less options would have seen us hiking back out. an interesting place to end up in.
lower slopes were peppered with open creeks & moderate size holes, while the final third was alder jungle.
happy new year's!
dave healey, asg