27 Dec - avalanche activity

I travelled between 1600m and 2400m today, mostly saw south, east and a little north. Saw plenty of Size 2 and one Size 2.5 slab avalanches that ran yesterday (121226) during the wind event which loaded what ever was sitting above the rain crust. I confirmed at least one avalanche was on the crust, so unfortunately it is performing. I probed and dug to the crust all the way to 2400m, and suspect it goes to perhaps 2600m. I saw avalanches on both big convoluted alpine features that easily cross-load, on open alpine slopes running for 500m vertical, and also on small steep slopes that most people would not pay any attention to (see photo). It is worth noting that the well known (and off-limits) slide path on Hiyodori has also slide to past the cat track.

It seems that the natural cycle has abated, however there is still likely plenty of slab to be skier triggered. Winds blew hard all day and I watched high crown walls fill and and the slope re-loaded.

Personally, I won't be pushing any terrain at all for now, particularly avoiding convoluted cross loaded terrain around 2000m and specific steep areas where the rain crust is close to the surface near rocks. You'd find that along Happo. On flat terrain at 1900m I found the shallower crust 120cm deep. The second crust was 140cm deep. However once you move onto any feature with wind, you can find the crusts in the top 50-100cm.

It was cold all day and the cliffs near 3000m looked dark and lonely.


Good to see your regular updates again! your efforts are massively appreciated!

Thanks Joe, I appreciate the feedback as it does take some effort and also creates duplication of work.

Behind teh scenes I also prepare, for private use, an industry standard avalanche risk and hazard analysis each morning (based on the past few seasons working with professional guides, and more recently, on my very expensive advanced avalanche training). That all means a lot of early mornings and an hour of work each evening, which makes the blog an extra task these days, so I do hope the blog content is worthwhile.


How did the avie course go, we need a report on that!

Hi Yannis. I did a bunch of courses, including professional development training in the form of 3 days of AST instructor techniques, both for classroom and field teaching. I also attended a very good AvSAR course aimed and industry workers who may be involved in organized avalanche search and rescue, possibly with multiple agencies/resources and using incident command systems etc. It was a great course, and new ground for me. Plus I attended a wilderness first aid refresher which was not due, but I did it anyway with my spare time. However the big avalanche course which took 2 weeks, the purpose of my visit to Canada... they send a letter advising results in the mail. So I know as much as you do about the outcome of that one!