20 Feb 2013

First thing yesterday morning you could see the clouds coming down the valley from the North. Eventually they lifted but overall it was a great day on the mountain.

The clouds on Whistler were forming , lifting and then once the sun hit them, they were evaporating.

Art 2284 meters the temperature was -11, winds were 25-35 KPH from the SSW. At 1650 meters the temperature was -9, no new snow over night. In the valley it was -8. Observations taken at 06:00 Hrs.

For the forecast we will see clouds developing in the morning, flurries possible this afternoon, as a weak surface trough moves into our area. A warmer front slides in on Thursday with some light snow. A prominent pacific jet stream will change the pattern we have been in. For Friday we will see moderate to heavy snow as a strong cold front approaches,  but I am still unsure of the amounts. Looks like quite a bit of the energy is going south. Appears to be a break on Saturday before another system brings moderate to heavy snow Sunday into Monday.

For the local updated avalanche advisory: Blackcomb Snow Safety

Trying to gather some information on back country etiquette, if anyone has any ideas about the subject please forward it to me. When I first started touring in 1980, I was taught some do's and dont's that I feel have been lost to the ever increasing numbers of back country enthusiasts who may not understand the etiquette.

A friend is going from Vancouver to Alaska with two other folks and meeting others on the way. Here is a sight you can follow them on. They just started their adventure 2 days ago and have a long way to go. Traverse the Coast with Erica, Ryan, and Michael

German heli-skier dies in an avalanche near Invermere: Jumbo Glacier

The Memory, from wildsnow.com: Avalanche from 1982

Avalanche risk complicates search for missing skier: Gaspe Park Quebec

Skier hurt near Bridger Peak in an avalanche: Bozeman Montana

Avalanche hits Himachal Pradesh Village: India

The sun came out for a while and caused some point releases on South \ West facing slopes.

There was some great skiing in Blackcomb Bowl yesterday.

Prior to the next snow fall its a good idea to take note of debris in the bowls and rocks in the entrances. May not be so easy to see with 30 cm of new snow.

From Adam Greenberg, February 16, 2013; Thanks Adam:

Hey Wayne, 

A friend of mine told me you may be interested in the attached shots for your blog. They were taken on the slopes below Vantage Pk. on February 16th. A localized storm brought ~15-20cms of new snow with a healthy dose of wind and warm temps, and as you can see this quickly stiffened into a soft slab in lee aspects. The slide ran on a NE feature size 1-1.5 on a melt freeze crust. The skier was able to cut out of the flow. The edge of the fracture is clearly visible in the second image.


More information from the event on Fissile on Sunday:

Sunday Feb 17 was unsettled with poor visibility at times and clingy skinning with 20cm of HST on a firm crust.

Two ski tourers were skiing the wrap around line (NE Aspect) in variable visibility when they were both caught at different times in their own sluff. The first skier (JD) lost his balance, crossed his skis one of which popped off and went over a cliff. He was able to stay in control and got around the cliff band to the snowy exit chute.

The first skier called up to the second skier but it was too late to warn him. Number 2 (Rob) lost his footing and fell over a small cliff band and slid fast down to the bottom through and over some rocks for a total of 200-300m. The first skier started yelling help and getting his beacon out. He was astonished to find the second skier not buried and uninjured but missing one ski and one pole. (both of which were found)

At this point a witness to the event called (911?) to initiate the rescue response from Whistler SAR and W/B patrol. The witness called back to say the group was under way and appeared OK. The three responders were dispatched via helicopter given the likelihood of injury and found the pair skinning back up to Russet Ridge. After landing and approaching on foot Martin Buchheim determined they did not need help.