Avalanche season is here! Coverage is good above 3,500ft, and people have been skiing/riding. Nadahini area is currently the most rideable area. Snow depths above 4,000ft are between 20-120cm, with the deepest snow on sheltered north aspects.
Remember that it's full-on avalanche season and layers already exist within the new snow. Standard caution would advise avoiding wind loaded slopes 30 degrees and steeper. If you choose to venture onto these slopes, carefully evaluate them. Consider failure and propagation potential on our mid-pack rain crusts, and how well bonded any storm layers are. Are there wind slabs that react and slide around? Hand shears, compression tests, and slope tests will be very useful.
As any new snow comes in, expect the fresh storm snow to be unstable for at least a few days until it has a chance to settle and bond.
Start the season with fresh batteries in your beacon, and do a rescue practice with your partners. Always carry a beacon, shovel, and probe, and KNOW HOW TO USE THEM.
Practice good risk management, which means only expose one person at a time to slopes 30 degrees and steeper, make group communication and unanimous decision making a priority, and choose your terrain wisely: eliminating unnecessary exposure and planning out your safe zones and escape routes.
Natural wet slabs, storm slabs, and loose slides have been occurring during recent storms, all size D2-D3. Most of these have been occurring on steep, wind loaded north aspects above 4,500ft. In areas of slick ground or bare rock/unsupported slopes, some of these slides failed at the ground.
We had a very wet October, with snow levels about 1,000ft above average, near 3500ft. Above that level there was good accumulation, with almost nothing below it. This trend has continued so far into November. This last week brought heavy precipitation in the Lutak and Transitional zones, but sadly snow levels rose to near 5,000ft Sunday night. A cooling trend is beginning, with snow levels beginning to drop towards 1500ft by Tuesday.
( *star means meteorological estimate )
Regular updates for this zone will begin as soon as snow coverage increases and we start getting in more reports from the public. If you get out riding, please send in an observation! Until then, please check the Chilkat Pass zone forecast, as it is being updated regularly.
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