Snow at last!

19th January 2009

Yes I know it’s a snow pit shot and we try to avoid using them but I think it’s the first time this season we have put a snow pit photo on the blog? (Correct me if I’m wrong!) Anyway I had to take a photo today as it was great to have a decent bit of snow to dig in. As you can just about see from the shades of grey and white that’s over 70cm of windslab in the past 48hrs. Other locations will have more… It is weakly bonded with the top two layers failing readily on approach and the deep windslab layer failing with a little encouragement on the first melt-freeze layer.

This is my sub-20 kilo cornice tester – Today’s cornices failed the husky test!

And before you phone the RSPCA – “No animals were hurt in the process of producing this avalanche forecast.”

Being serious for a moment…just to fill you in on conditions a bit – the most recent snow has fallen in less strong winds and therefore the distribution of snow is now more widespread. There are drifts in many more places than yesterday and trailbreaking is required in more sheltered locations. The new cornices are fragile and as stated above took very little weight to fracture them. It was cold and there is ice around but most of it was buried under powder – thankfully my metal shovel, 50metres of rope and a sack full of clothing saved my back when I hit hidden water-ice on a downhill run! The same goes for the buttresses – unconsolidated powder is present in sheltered locations.

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