We ventured to Kaslo British Columbia and arrived during the tail end of a challenging avalanche cycle. The warming weather conditions had triggered widespread failures on the buried surface hoar in the region. The local forecasters had identified the avalanche problems as stemming from a persistent weak layer and the occurrence of wet loose avalanches. Checkout the forecast for that day here.
We can attest to the widespread avalanches in the area, and the weather during our tour was notably warm. We encountered numerous crowns from slabs that had released just the day before. Consequently, we had already decided to stick to skiing in relatively safe terrain. The combination of the forecast, the information gleaned from the Mountain Information Network, and our firsthand observations left us with no doubt that a highly conservative approach was the wisest choice for the day.
Our snow pit reaffirmed the decisions to ski safe lines. During an extended column test, we observed propagation occurring after just 17 taps (ECTP17). This propagation occurred at a depth of 55cm, revealing some of the largest buried surface hoar we have ever encountered in the field. The accompanying photo only provides a partial glimpse of the impressive size of these crystals.
As usual the Lye probe accompanied us and we took some measurements with to see how well it capture this scenario. We were quite pleased to see it did. Checkout the comparison!