It was a great day out in the Back country for all those who made it there yesterday; blue skies, no wind, fresh powder and a moderately stable snow pack. Being the long week end there were a lot of back country enthusiasts heading out into the mountains. Happo One saw more people in one day than over the last 2 weeks I am sure. And rightly so with the conditions and it being a long weekend. Temperatures were cold overnight but warmed quickly through the day to +0.6 on Happo northern aspect at 1850 m. The south slopes of Tengu Kashira were releasing multiple size 2 loose avalanches due to the intense solar radiation hitting the steep slopes and rock bands mid slope.
The snow pack on the Northern Aspect of Happo One at Tree Line was showing good stability after multiple observations and snow pack tests. Compresion tests found Resistant Planer, Moderate ~ Hard shears at around 40 cm in the snow. This was at the interface of the well preserved decomposing steller crystals of February 4th and the more recently formed dense slab above. Recent winds has made the snow pack thickness above the rain crust of January 12th very variable. There are still multiple ridges where the ice crust is exposed and gullies where there is over a meter of snow over the rain crust. It is this spacial variation right now that is still a possible concern in the back country. There was 1 skier triggered small soft slab in the new snow that was 3 meters wide by 20 cms deep and ran for 20 meters. It was barely a size one but it was cut and this meens that other areas may have larger possible slabs that could be skier/boarder triggered.
The south slopes got worked hard by the sun today and thus expect breakable sun crusts on Southern aspects as well as possible rock solid debris out of those heated Soutern slopes. Northern slopes did not see the same warm up and will no dought experience some loss of moister and heat over night with night time cooling and ratiation creating lighter surface snow for this morning.
There is snow forcasted through today and tomorrow that may change the stability of the snow pack so remember to keep your eyes and ears open as well as doing some proper tests to make sure that you line up and down are safe.
Remember that steep convexing gullies and chutes may not be experiencing the same stability. Do continue to play it safe with proper group and terrain management and safety measures. ALWAYS carry a shovel and probe as well as having a beacon on your body, switched on and the skills to use it in the event of an accident.
Tree Line: Moderate
Below Tree line: Moderate
The Hazard rating will change with new snow or solar radiation.
Play safe and enjoy!