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A Snow Study: Musical Bumps Near Whistler
Timestamp Free: 2018.04.22 - 02:44:56
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Garibaldi Ranges / Fitzsimmons Range
  (1 days)
Participants: M. Sulkers
Difficulty: 2: NTD; must have avalanche awareness
After a strong, two-day wind event, a day tour is taken to look at the effects on snow stability in the Musical Bumps region.
After nearly two weeks of good snow stability and fine powder turns in the Musical Bumps, the area was treated to a strong Arctic Outflow event and winds averaging 55km/h from the NE to E for two days in the alpine. With up to 40cm of light, fluffy powder from treeline up, there was lots of snow to redistribute and a layer of crusts, facets, surface hoar, and low density snow to lay it on. Most of the redistribution took place over the height of the storm, which occurred mainly on January 6 and 7th.

With beautiful clear skies on Sunday, I took the opportunity to head out to get some turns and to look at what the storm had left us before the whole package got covered with fresh snow.

Just heading down from the top of the Peak Chair towards the new Piccolo Control Gate was interesting, as most of the ski down was on exposed raincrust from December 19th and various incredibly shaped sastrugi. Occasional patches of medium hard to hard windslab provided entertainment, as it was difficult to judge ski penetration from the appearance of the slabs. What was clear is that most of the slabs were well-bonded as a unit, but not at all well-bonded to the old crust or low-density snow that lay under them. [photo]PicSWAvy450.jpg[caption]Small Avalanche on WSW of Piccolo[/photo]

From the gate, I noticed some debris to the WSW of Piccolo Summit. Heading in that direction, it was clear that a small slope had released naturally and run of the normal traverse route on this side of Piccolo. The slabs averaged @40cm in thickness and were quite well jumbled in the deposition. Some wind had occurred after the release, and this snow was well-bounded around the debris. The slope that had slid was only 11m high at its highest and over 40 degrees at its steepest.

Only a little more...

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