Cloudy and cold all through yesterday...light snow was falling up the top above the Happo gondola station but not enough to leave more than a dusting, most of which would have got blown away by roaring Aussies roaming the streets last night in celebration of their national piss-up day. Some snow fell overnight and Goryu are reporting 5cms of fresh. The snow in general at Happo yesterday was super icy, hard and unforgiving - don't let the dust on top fool you. The forecast was for this snow to stop sometime this afternoon and that we can expect cold temps & sunny skies tomorrow, warming on Thursday. No strong winds today either.
SNOW STABILITY INFORMATION AS AT MONDAY 26TH:
Moderate snow fall on Saturday left 10 - 20 cm of new storm snow across the Hakuba mountains. The winds were moderate and from the west creating lee loading on East aspects and cross loading North slopes. Saturday cleared during the night and radiative cooling over Saturday and Sunday nights sucked a lot of moister from the snow pack creating light low density snow at the surface as well as continuing to grow the newly forming facets around the brittle crust created on North aspects at an elevation of 1600 - 2000 m. South aspects have once again been receiving a lot of daily solar radiation and have produced a melt freeze crust that will warm up in today's warm solar radiation‚ especially around rocks and trees and on steep slopes and under cornices.
Multiple size 1- 2.5‚ loose avalanches were observed on all solar radiated aspects between 1200 m and 2600 m‚ January 23rd in the Hakuba mountains. These loose slides were releasing in steep‚ convex terrain from rock outcrops‚ trees and under cornices. Two ski triggered loose slides size 1.5 on the North aspect in steep (40 degree)‚ sparsely treed terrain.
Tests on North aspect terrain in the Goryu area‚ January 23rd at 2000 m found easy compression tests with sudden collapse fracture characteristics down 15 cm at the new snow / melt freeze interface that was created by yesterday's warm mist up to 2000 m. This weak layer also produced a moderate result in an Extended Column Test as well as a Reuch Block Test; RB4. The Grauple layer that has been reactive over the last week is showing greater bonding and consolidation. Tests on his layer were producing Hard results and only producing breaks. One RB6 was produced. The new snow on Saturday did in fact put some greater stresses on the snow pack and an avalanche incident on the north aspect off of Happo One BC was reported on Sunday afternoon.
Thanks to some close bystanders and members of the injured recreationalist party the victim that was fully buried was located and dug out of the debris. The victim was then flown to hospital by helicopter.
More Information will be reported as known.
Recent avalanche involvement on Happo One North face on Sunday has signaled a warning to all back country users and indicating instability in the shaded slopes. Beware of cornices and avoid steep convex terrain below rock outcrops‚ areas of sparse trees and below cornices on lee slopes at all elevations. Caution as temperatures increase through the day. South faces will be receiving strong solar radiation today and may be sliding off areas that did not slide on Friday as there will be a very hard sun crust underlying the new storm snow. Be extremely careful in steep unsupported terrain especially around areas that will warm quickly; rocks‚ trees and steep slopes under cornices.
Avalanche Danger will increase with the addition of new snow and increased wind.
Steadily increasing air temperature
Radiative cooling of snow surface causing low density snow and frost at surface
rapid settlement of surface snow causing load on buried weak layers
Increase in loose snow avalanches and sluffs
Extreme radiation and warming of southern exposures
Solar radiated cornices becoming weak with direct solar radiation.
Use caution if crossing solar radiated slopes.
Increased caution advised around rocky outcroppings‚ cliffs and well spaced trees in start zones.
Due caution on cross loaded slopes
Surface hoar frost created overnight
Poor bonding at or around buried crust
Facet layer around buried crust
Stay away from steep and convex terrain
Danger Level: 3 Considerable
Natural avalanches possible. Human triggered avalanches probable.
Danger level ratings are set for conditions at tree line and may vary from below tree line and High Alpine areas.
Use this information as a guideline only.
Official resort snow depths on 27th Jan 09:
235cm (Alps daira)
Sun Alpina Sanosaka:
Nighta tonight is scheduled at:
Hakuba Goryu (Toomi);
Hakuba Cortina Kokusai (Ikenoda)