Hillmans Highway

January 21, 2021 at 2:00 PM
Name: Ryan Lewthwaite| MWAC
Location: Hillmans Highway

A noticeable increase in the snowpack since Sunday, with 14 to 20 inches of low density snow. The overall snowpack has nearly doubled in the past week from less than 50cm to over 90cm. The crust that formed after last Saturday evenings rain event is still very apparent in the snowpack but it’s loosing strength. The west winds during my observation were light, and large stellar snowflakes fell from above with perfect form. Previous moderate to strong winds had deposited large drifts of condensed snow up to 3 feet deep in sheltered areas. While areas of wind scouring exposed the unsupportable crust previously mentioned. I dug my snowpit in a narrow gully that had been effected by wind, but is representative of desirable ski terrain. I found an 84cm snowpack over wet ice and could hear running water below. Compression, extended column, & propagation saw tests revealed a thin upper crust layer surrounded by weak facets, which could fail when hard force was applied.
Conversing with others in the area I learned that tender wind slabs were reactive to human triggering in Tuckermans Ravine. Shooting cracks & collapsing had deterred at least one party from traveling above the floor. Avalanche debris was noticed below “Chute” & “Open Book” locations. Visibility was non existent during my time on the rock.