Confessions Of A Ski Bum

Hector South Ridge Avalanches

Went up to Hector South Ridge, Southern Unnamed Peak today with Rob Mazc, James MacNeil-Mah and Taylor Sullivan. We remote triggered several avalanches while walking along the ridge and at the flat highpoint.

Our first remote triggered avalanche of the day

Skinning up to treeline is now pretty good except we started with a rougher section of bush today. We started seeing shooting cracks on isolated rolls at treeline. Once at the ridge we went north a short section and tried to ski a low angle lee slope but there was too much snow to be able to turn or at times to even keep moving downhill. We decided to go for a walk up to the Southern Unnamed Peak and while on the ridge we noticed several shooting cracks before realizing we had remotely triggered a size 1 avalanche on the lee slope from about 30m away. We checked out the slide and knocked off a bunch of other cornices to see how reactive the lee slope was. A short time later we noticed another avalanche further up the ridge had went off and we were able to get under this one to have a quick look as there was no hangfire and had easy access due to terrain shape. The last avalanches we remote triggered was from walking on the large flat highpoint, we heard the settlement and then went looking for cracks. We found what is at least a size 2 in steep terrain with a crown of 1m at it’s highest point, tappering off to 20cm in the steeper/rockier sections. This avalanche was remote triggered from about 100m away. It also either connected to or released two other avalanches to either side but the vis was very poor and we could not make out the lower slopes very well. We could also not see the debris depth.

Looking down at the first avalanche

We left the area by skiing back down our skin track and through a very small pocket of slightly steeper terrain on the windward side of the ridge. There were some small shooting cracks out of the turns in this pocket and if it were any steeper I would have expected a small release. We followed our skin track all the way out to the road, getting some short powder turns when we were able to pick up speed. With a much fatter ski (115+) the skiing probably would have been outstanding.

Some deep crowns


Warm, cloudy and a strong wind along the ridge. Snowing all day at less than 1cm/h. 40-60cm of snow over the old facets at 2400m on windward side and 60+cm on lee side. About 80cm of new snow at the bottom of our lee side “run” at about 2350m and I would expect some of the direct lees higher up to have even more at this point. Still snowing at a steady rate at 1500m in Lake Louise, probably a great time to ski at a resort or take that fattest skis you have to a mellow zone with no overhead danger.

Another release

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