5 Feb 2013

It was great to see some fresh snow in the trees yesterday morning. We received 1 cm at Catskinner and 2 cm at Pig Alley as of 14:30 yesterday afternoon.

The wind was blowing the multi-coloured flags around today!!

At 2284 meters the temperature was -7, winds were 45-70 KPH from the SSE. Max gust last night was 80 KPH. At 1650 meters the temperature was -2.5, 8 cm of new snow was recorded there. In the valley it is +1. Barometer is on a downward trend. Observations at 06:00 Hrs.

For the forecast we will see the snow intensify through out the day easing by this afternoon. Several fronts are on their way. A cold front will slide through today followed by an upper level trough this evening. A weaker front will reach our area by Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday evening. A ridge of high pressure will reach our area late Thursday, so Friday through Monday looks dry. The snow amounts are decreasing from 2 days ago.  Guesstimates: Today 10-12 Tomorrow morning 12-15 Wednesday Day 3-5 Thursday Morning 5-10

For the updated avalanche advisory: Blackcomb Snow Safety

Snow Avalanche kills 1, injures 8: Jammu-Kashmir Highway

Avalanche Airbag Packs at outdoor retailer trade show 2013: From Wild Snow

Buffalo Pass skier escapes Avalanche: Steamboat Springs

One hurt in Saturday Avalanche on Cameron Pass West of Fort Collins: Issues in Colorado

Brit Skier caught in Avalanche: St. Anton

Two climbers may have perished on the Droites: Chamonix

5 Dead in an Avalanche in : Northeastern Afghanistan

Some nice stellar's had fallen by mid day yesterday making the skiing quite good in 7 Th Heaven..

The visibility at the top of Blackcomb was good for most of the day until the clouds merged later in the day. The low level clouds were persistently nasty all day. Very moist, with cool air temperatures creates a bit of an issue if you want to see where you were going. When it is like that stay close to the trees or rocks were you can get some better definition.

Here are some observations and photos from Justin Coughlin from the weekend:

Hey Wayne,

Quick report of the conditions on the Spearhead.  I did a variation of the Spearhead in a day on Saturday with 2 good friends.  Snow conditions were decent nothing to brag about.  Its obvious that we have much less snow than the past few years.  There was very little evidence of recent avalanche activity and the sunshine didn't seem to effect the Southern aspects as much as we expected (ie. snow stayed dry and no pinwheels etc...).  There are open crevasses on pretty much all glaciers but for the most part on our route they were easily avoided.

Slots on Decker are obvious as are those on Tremor.  Just shy of the col of Tremor/Shudder we hit some pretty strong winds.  This was also where one of our party members put one boot through a snow bridge into a shallow slot.  It wasn't much of an issue but something to be aware of.  Crossing Ripsaw and Naden were straightforward was even able to ski the col between the two.

Our variation came into play when we got to the ridge North of Iago.  It was around 3:30pm when we found ourselves glancing across at the large open crevasses on Iago and's North Face which were probably easily avoid but still we decided it'd be much wiser to descend the remainder of Macbeth Glacier into Fitzsimmons creek and ascend the moraine below Russet Lake.  We were most concerned about navigating Overload with just our headlamps for lighting.

We elected to finish the night off by going over the bumps and skiing out the resort rather than the shortcut out the singing pass trail.  Made for a long and awesome day!

A selection of photo's attached (courtesy of myself, Max and Stu)...

Please forecast more snow;)