The standard route up to Lake Haiyaha is completely in (as of 12.31.14), as is always the case with this route, there are those few crux areas where extra caution should be taken. The main concern right now is of course Persistent Slabs. The concern is mainly on northwest through northeast and east-facing slopes at all elevations. The puts the Haiyaha traverse (along with ‘Terrain Park’, and ‘Olympic Games’) directly in the crosshairs of potential slab areas. At Lake Haiyaha I did a few ECT’s on the south to get an idea of what we are looking at above 10K. A profile is shown below in the photo gallery.
There is a persistent layer at roughly 121cm that will be the sleeping giant for sometime to come. This layer is congruent to the rest of the zone. Facets are beginning to grow below the buried crust layer.
We opted to descend into an area near Mario’s Gulch and traversed over to the ‘Terrain Park’ area. The snow is amazing — but be mindful of the layer mentioned earlier on those areas of high consequence terrain. Further up the Chaos Canyon on the south slopes of Hallett Peak there is recent evidence of some natural slide activity.
Kelso Ridge – avalanche 12.31.14
Today, the same day, a slab release occurred on the summer route approach at Kelso Ridge from above on to the trail. The area mentioned in the report slides on a regular basis, and slid multiple times last year. This accident is reminiscent of the avalanche in 2005 in the exact same location. If you traverse this route, be mindful that the winter route is further out in the valley and it’s best to avoid the summer route altogether in the winter months. Sincere condolences to the family and friends in this incident.