Backcountry Climbing Mountain Culture Mountaineering News

Beware the Dragon – December Crust

Yet another atmospheric river!😒

The tail end of 2021 and the first couple of weeks of 2022 were dominated by colder temperatures and frequent snowstorms across most of BC. The early December crust that was formed after a series of atmospheric rivers at the end of November is now found anywhere from about 100 to 200cm down in the snowpack across most regions. Natural and skier triggered activity has been sporadic on this layer, creating a low probability/high consequence avalanche hazard which makes it tricky to manage our risk.

Looking ahead to this week we are yet again facing another warm atmospheric river making landfall on Tuesday and Wednesday with rising freezing levels and high levels of either rain or snowfall. We can anticipate having our persistent slab problem wake up in many areas creating a widespread cycle of large avalanches during this storm.

If you venture out into avalanche terrain over the next few days, it will be extremely important to choose your terrain carefully and manage your exposure to large overhead hazards. Also keep in mind the potential to trigger storm slab avalanches that could act as a step-down trigger and wake up the sleeping dragon that is the early December crust.

Know Before You Go