Gulf of Slides, South Snowfields

February 7, 2021 at 12:00 PM
Name: Ryan Lewthwaite| MWAC
Location: Gulf of Slides, South Snowfields

On a mission to investigate snow conditions in Gulf of Slides we poked around in Main Gully and the South Snowfields. The skies were overcast and light snow began to fall at a rate of S1. Winds were light out of the northwest with a temperature of 13.6(F) degrees. Initially in the lower trees near the ski trail we observed soft snow over facets without any crust layers. As we traveled near 4400′ into sparse trees we found soft snow over facets with 2 crust layers. The snow was uniquely soft with limited wind effect on the surface. Although the lower 93cm of snow had been undergoing the faceting process, creating a sugary consistency. The crusts were also degrading and losing their supportability. Wind effected snow above us had been blown into drifts and other areas showed signs of scouring. Overall the stability was fair with a concern for the facet layers near crusts, acting as a plain of weakness. The weak layers of the snowpack could be a critical concern in future snow loading events. Additional weight added to these persistent weak layers could provide the catalyst for avalanches to come. Descend slopes cautiously, one at a time, and do your research in multiple locations. The photo is of Main Gully with human triggered avalanche debris in the runout path.