The special public avalanche warning issued by Avalanche Canada on Jan 11. will end today following a fatal slide event in Fernie on Jan 8. and a number of near misses over the past two weeks.
“Many of these incidents occurred in what is generally considered fairly safe terrain,” said James Floyer, Forecasting Program Supervisor for Avalanche Canada.
“These included relatively low angle slopes, treed areas and even heavily tracked slopes.”
The recent storm cycle affected much of the Southern Interior and buried a number of weak layers in the snowpack 40 centimetres to a metre deep including a significant Dec. 15 hoar crust that created snowpack instability and left the backcountry largely inaccessible to anyone without expert knowledge.
Last Thursday, Avalanche Canada suggested outdoor enthusiasts “avoid the backcountry or hire a professional guide.”
That same day widespread avalanche activity, which included slides that ran to size 3 and were triggered by humans and explosives, was reported by Avalanche Canada in the South Columbia.
The natural and human triggered slide activity continued over the weekend.
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On Saturday, Avalanche Canada reports size 3 avalanches were triggered on a variety of aspects and elevations, including a number of cornice failures on north and east facing aspects.
On Sunday, reports were received of a natural avalanche cycle that ran to size 3.5.
Avalanche Canada published that they were running naturally on southwest, southeast and south facing alpine features and were likely triggered by warming alpine temperatures and direct sunlight.
Moving forward the avalanche forecast for the South Columbia says the danger will remain considerable and that natural and human triggered slides are likely.
Forecasters suggest backcountry enthusiasts exercise caution and make conservative terrain choices.
The special public avalanche warning applied to much of the Southern Interior including the Lizard and Flathead mountain ranges, the South Rockies, Purcells, Kootenay Boundary South, North Columbia, Glacier National Park, and the Caribou.
For more information visit avalanche.ca.