IMPORTANT: The following information is provided in good faith. Both the observation and forecasting methods used to provide this summary are not consistent with international standard. They are based in the collective experience of those providing input on the conditions, the hazards and the respective rating if provided. Due to both the spatial and often subjective nature of the observation input available, forecasting is at best an estimate. Understanding, knowledge and practise in self assessment of alpine hazards is crucial to safe backcountry travel in all alpine areas covered here.
Moderate wind slab hazard on aspects lee to the west.
Hazard increasing with continued windloading over the next 48hrs.
Melt freeze / rime ice crusts firming on North and west aspects.
Variable to poor visibility.
19th August 2019: We have had 15-20cm of fresh snow falling overnight associated with strong (50-70km) westerly winds and cold temperatures (-6˚). There is a moderate hazard rating based in concern over the bonding of the new wind loaded aspects sitting on an unsupported crust. If you found the sweet spot you’d take a ride. Particularly on aspects lee to the west, on slopes of 30˚+. Given the cold temps it’s likely bonding will take some time. Watch in particular for this hazard during warming as the snow pack finds cohesion.
16 August 2019: We have a firm crust with evidence of surface hoar, and faceted snow ‘supporting?!’ the melt freeze crust, more obvious on solar aspects and down low around 1650. Between this ‘August’ snow and the hard ‘June’ base is a mixed bag with two slowly mending weak layers laid down in gaps between the fronts of the last storm. The top is cold -4˚ with hoar frost at the interface and the deeper is a graupel layer -2˚. Not plain sailing but saved by the strong cohesion of the top 10cm. Not an unfamiliar story at this time of the year.
IMPROVING / ONGOING / DETERIORATING
Continued cold temps out on the hill will have the snow thats fallen stay in reasonable shape! The flurries are set to turn back into intermittent snow showers, increasing the loading on some layers already exhibiting poor stability properties. Take care out there, have a good suss of these layers, the overlying cohesion and the quality of the bonding with underlying crust, somewhere around 15-30cm depending on aspect, and any new weaknesses emerging through temp / density variation. SM
19th August 2019: 16 cm accompanied by strong westerly winds has fallen overnight. There will be some great turns on offer in the back-country however be cautious of steep slopes. There may be storm or wind slabs present, especially on aspects lee to the westerly half. Take Care. BB
14the August 2019: Given observations conducted in the vicinity of Feathertop on Monday afternoon there are still some weak layers around 15cm - 30cm associated with a density shift, buried hoar and graupel. With slow mending in a super cold snowpack (-8˚) there’s a good reason to be concerned about wind slab aspects lee to the north and west up high. Cornices are looming large and pinwheels and small collapses observed. Not out of the woods yet in the high alpine.