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.