Friday, November 5, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park: Conditions Update Nov. 3rd, 2010

No sooner have the words left my fingertips and found their way onto this report, and things change again up there. Today was another warm day and, unfortunately, a bit too warm for much of the ice around the Park. We were skiing in the Park and saw lots of ice melting due to the warmth, especially in the sun, even above 11,000’. North-facing and shaded routes seem to be doing quite well and lots of cool-looking alpine routes keep appearing at the higher elevations. Lower elevation stuff seems to be disappearing! The Ptarmigan Fingers avalanched very hard after our big snow, running their full track. The east-most Finger (the BB-Couloir) ran all the way to the tarn but it didn’t stop there. In fact, it had so much force when it hit the tarn that it broke through the ice and demolished it, sweeping the ice and water uphill towards Notchtop. Large shards of lake ice were mixed with the avalanche debris. The top wind-slab forming around the ridge tops is fairly sensitive, especially in unsupported and/or high-angle areas. As always, it varies in thickness but appears to be about 8-10” thick on average.

Andrew Councell
CMS Guide
AMGA Certified Rock Guide

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