Backcountry Advisory 

As of Wednesday, April 14

A typical springtime melt-freeze cycle has been upon us for a while and the snowpack has altered its composition. A strong crust on most aspects is sitting over somewhat isothermal snow with columns of cohesive snow aligned vertically rather than the usual horizontal layering we expect to see. This seems to be the beginning of the change to a summer firn snowpack. Flurries are expected to lay a thin layer of new snow over this for the rest of the week.

While the warm temperatures of the past week did not produce very much action, at least one cornice failure caused the slope below it to slide to ground. Another event involved a couple of skiers dodging cornice chunks knocked down by a skier on the cornice ridge above them, who ended up dangling from a rock, his legs hanging in space.

It is the time of year when planning is the key ingredient to finding the best snow conditions while still managing to travel safely. Follow the sun around and avoid any terrain where the snow has turned to unsupportive mush.

Cornices are currently well developed and susceptible to failure with little or no trigger. Stay well back from the edge of the ridgelines and avoid travelling under any large cornice features.

The avalanche danger is rated as LOW . This will increase with daytime warming and the effects of the sun. Periods of flurries may add a variable layer of new snow that could create a surface instability.

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