December 13, 2015

Observation from Backcountry Babes avalanche course at Arctic Valley (Gordon Lyon and Rendezvous Saddle):
20F Broken skies turned overcast. South wind picked up during the day, flagging ridge tops. Significant transport of Saturday’s 4-6″ of fresh snow. Light snow was falling when we left.
We found a shallow snowpack variable in depth due to wind redistribution; heather/grass scoured bare to wind loaded gullies and leeward slopes 3-5′ deep. Ski patrol reported whumphing Saturday and a pocket of windslab that had naturally released in Avalanche Gully.
Tests showed the upper 6″ pencil hard windslab to fracture on facets sitting on another windslab below. RB3 whole block down 6″ on a west slope just below Rendezvous Saddle. CTH on the same layer, resistant planar/Q2. The 3-4mm basal facets collapsed in some tests.