Spent the last 3 days on the Spearhead Traverse with a guided group. Winter lingered on during the first 2 days with stormy conditions, cold temps and up to 15cm of new snow with moderate SW winds on the night of April 20th and through the 21st. The ridge of high pressure moved in on Saturday night bringing mostly sunny skies and light ridge top winds on the 22nd. Temps stayed cool but this is about to change in the next few days.
Travel was great, snowpack is deep on the glaciers (4m+) and crevasses are well filled and bridged. Ski quality was excellent on North aspects with boot top powder and mid boot on South. The previous melt-freeze crust could be felt but skied well. Very limited wind affect felt only in high exposed areas. The new snow seemed to be bonding fairly well to the previous melt-freeze crusts on solar and below 1800m with only minor sluffing and a few isolated small slabs. I chose to exit over Flute so no reports on Singing Pass conditions.
I dug a snow profile at 2450m, NE asp on the Ripsaw Glacier. Height of snow there was > 450cm. Progressive resistances in the top 120cm and the March 21st interface was hard to find. Had no significant test results ( 1 x CTH (RP) down 65cm, non repeated).
Poor visibility on the 2 first days provided limited avalanche obs but when the skies cleared we saw avalanche activity limited to recent storm snow and windslab in high alpine lees. Nothing larger than a size 2. Of note, I did see off in the far distance out in the McBride Range, one size 3 which looked to be around the 2100m mark on a N asp, suspect the March 21st SH/FC interface would have been the culprit. Hard to say how old this was.
My main concern is still the March 21st SH/FC between 1900m-2250m on North aspects. Likelihood of triggering this will increase with the incoming warm weather. The April 20th melt-freeze crust I suspect is bridging this layer on E and W aspects where it was previously reported to be an issue. I would stay clear of shallow thin areas and would avoid traveling under any cornices for extended periods in the next little while. Areas of concern and where large cornices exist on the traverse are the usual suspects: Decker, ridge between Decker and Trorey, ridge between Macbeth and Iago glaciers, Mt. Benvolio, Overlord and Refuse Pinnacle.