[MCR] Coast Range, Whistler and Duffey Regions, March 23- 31

Subject: [MCR] Coast Range, Whistler and Duffey Regions, March 23- 31
Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2015 15:02:48 -0600
The first Apprentice Ski Guide Exam was conducted in the vicinity of Whistler, British Columbia during 23-31 March. The course was divided into three syndicates. Each syndicate spend 6 days in the field between Whistler Blackcomb backcountry and Duffy Lakes. The weather was generally poor with challenging visibility, precipitation, and high winds in the alpine.

Weather Summary
Two significant systems hit the coast during the past week delivering precipitation in excess of 80mm. Freezing levels rose, peaking at 2500m on 26 Mar and stabilizing around 2000m. Winds were generally moderate to strong, gusting to extreme at ridge top, from the south. Skies were generally overcast and visibility was often poor.

Snowpack Summary
The drought after 11 Mar produced a 5-10cm thick crust with facets above and below. This persistent layer has been buried by subsequent storm cycles and is now buried 50-150cm below the surface. The snow packed has been capped by a new melt freeze crust 28 Mar. Wind slabs are prevalent on northern aspects in the alpine. On the glaciers, snowpack is 3+m. Below treeline, the snow is melting quickly.

Avalanche Summary
The 11 Mar crust interface showed volatility early in the week with numerous natural and skier/explosive triggered avalanches. Although activity has tapered, this persistent layer is still a concern as a low probability high consequence problem. With rising freezing levels throughout the week, new storm snow has produced a widespread loose wet cycle on steep slopes, all aspects. High winds and warm snow have contributed to cornice development and failures producing widespread avalanches to Sz 2 in the past 48h.

Travel Conditions
In the alpine, travel is generally good with a well developed spring snowpack. Expect icy crusts in the am with deteriorating conditions throughout the day. Below treeline, the snow is disappearing. It was necessary to bootpack all the way past Upper Joffre Lake yesterday. Light hikers with ice cleats will make approaches easier.

9 aspirent guides 
Larry Dolecki
Matt Peter
Keith Reid
Mountain Guides

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