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Toured to above 7000’ on northerly, southerly, and easterly aspects above Marion Lake. Light wind and mostly cloudy skies prevailed. No significant signs of wind loading were apparent, with only a small section of a two day old skin track on a north aspect having been filled in.
A pit at 7100’ on a northerly aspect yielded non-propagating results (ectn 8 at 15cm and ectn 14 at 20cm, respectively, on storm interfaces). A subsequent ski cut on a lightly wind loaded start zone yielded a full width propagation (60 ft) that ran several hundred yards, and further out of sight. We backed off, returning to southerly aspects, which have in previous days provided few signs of instability in this zone. Pictures from above with skier bootpacking out on bed surface are attached.
Subsequent ski cuts on adjacent southerly aspects around 35 degrees yielded similar fracturing soft slabs that ran with energy. A picture from below one of these near point 7180 is attached.
Convex rollovers on north aspect of Essex mountain were reactive to a lesser degree, and easterly aspect ski cuts (skiers right of gun barrel) yielded several fracturing soft slabs on steep rollovers that were running up to a couple hundred feet.
Today’s reactivity kept us on our toes, with a high level of heads up terrain management. Quite a departure from what my party observed on similar aspects two days ago.
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