Large Cornice's looming
Went on a Snowmo assisted tour yesterday with the smash bros. We observed two things:
1) A settlement in the snowpack. While booting up an E/NE facing chute around 8500', a partner experienced a significant settlement and shooting cracks. He transitioned quickly and got out of dodge. The location of settlement was in a particularly steep and shallow snowpack, contributing to this event. Besides this observation, we did not see any other signs of instability. (besides sketchy cornices.)
2) More notably we observed very large cornices, and a recent cornice failure. These large cornices were looming on many ridges and present a significant hazard. There was debris from a recent cornice break (Saturday night), which initiated a localized failure, gouged into the snowpack, and broke snow-bridges over bergschrunds onto the glacier. See pictures attached.
The cornice pictured below is easily 40+ feet tall. These cornices are heavy, destructive, and need to be given space. With continued precip (rain & snow) in the forecast, additional weight will be added to these already stressed features, and they are sure to break. Not if but, when. And likely soon....
The other picture is of the snow bridge that was destroyed by the Saturday night(?) cornice break. The snow-bridge was estimated around 10 feet deep, and the area which caved in was significant (30x50ft). This shows the scary and destructive potential when these cornice bombs go off...
Beyond this, the snow conditions were great!