Goto Chockstone Home

  Guide
  Gallery
  Tech Tips
  Articles
  Reviews
  Dictionary
  Links
  Forum
  Search
  About

      Sponsored By
      ROCK
   HARDWARE

  Shop
FREIGHT FREE
in Australia

Black Diamond: 120cm Nylon Runner. (Open sewn sling) 18mm wide nylon. Assorted colours. Awesome value IMO.   $8.00
20% Off

Chockstone Photography Australian Landscape Photography by Michael Boniwell
Australian Landscape Prints





Chockstone Forum - Trip Reports

Tells Us About Your Latest Trip!

Author
Blue Lake 25/8/13 - Avalanche Pics
Damo666
26/08/2013
9:11:50 AM
Blue Lake is in OK condition, some ice gone since my last post, but lots of it covered or banked out by significant new snowfall recently. There's less climbable ice than a month ago, but still a few good pitches here and there. Did one short pitch of perfect one-stick sytrofoam in the middle of the central wall, that has a nice short wall of steep water ice next to it. Over the eastern side there are a couple of short steep flows copping the sun and giving some good steep top roping. There were around 15 climbers there yesterday, the most I've ever seen, plus another dozen or more camped along the way from Guthega to Twynam.

I don't know when this avalanche fell, I guess either the Friday or Saturday. It's the biggest avalanche I've seen in Australia, and I've seen other big ones fall out of this gully. Significant thing is that it was not the cornice that fell, it was the loaded slope ten feet or more below the cornice that cracked and slid, leaving a crown around 2ft high. The debris stretched pretty much down to the lake shore and contained some big blocks. A section over the wall west of Twynam had also cracked and slid beneath the cornice. There are some funky snow conditions out there right now, though most of the slopes are icy hard and windblown.



maxdacat
26/08/2013
10:49:03 AM
crikey...I wouldn't want to be in the path of that!

IdratherbeclimbingM9
26/08/2013
12:09:59 PM
On 26/08/2013 Damo666 wrote:
>Significant thing is that it was not the cornice that fell, it was the loaded slope ten feet or more below the cornice that cracked and slid, leaving a crown around 2ft high. The debris stretched pretty much down to the lake shore and contained some big blocks. A section
>over the wall west of Twynam had also cracked and slid beneath the cornice.

Impressive pics, with an underlying message of the cornice is still yet to come.

Best NOT to do this kind of caper with it then...

BlankSlab
26/08/2013
12:25:27 PM
On 26/08/2013 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:

>Best NOT to do this kind of caper with it then...
>
"Hey bob, they're parked all the way back to dainier's gap again"

Capt_mulch
26/08/2013
4:24:52 PM
The one I saw there six years ago ish had the cornice falling off then hitting the slope, causing it to unload. That area to the north of Grey Buttress is obviously avalanche alley (Zac Zaharius has a colour slide of the same thing sometime in the 70's I think it was). The angle of the top of the slope to the prevailing westerlies, as well as its depth and down slope angle must make perfect conditions at times for snow accumulation. The last dying gasps of the glacier...

Reg
26/08/2013
10:01:04 PM
I noticed in the second photo what appears to be an 'old' crown wall with no debris below it. I assume it has been covered over. This is a little more concerning in general since it looks like its right under the regular ice climbing routes.
Damo666
26/08/2013
10:36:36 PM
That's not a crown, but a big crack running around. There's a few, like bergschrunds, some with some ominous small cracks creeping out from them, though I think only the edges are dangerous.

I've been contacted by a few people about these photos (here and on FB) now. Others have reported some other huge slides in other areas, mostly gullies, hundreds of metres long in some cases. There's just been some fairly unusual snow deposition (2m measured in some sites) and loading mid-late last week and a weak layer formed, releasing on Friday.

Capt_mulch
27/08/2013
5:21:36 AM
The August 2008 avalanche occurred after a full week of snow, which was part of the attraction as we were able to get on our skis at then end of the road at Guthega - a luxury. There was so much snow you could ski in almost any direction.We were being careful as everything looked loaded. When we got to Blue Lake we looked at the Western wall and decided to not go near it as there were big cornices sticking out and all the snow gullies were chockers.

Reg
27/08/2013
8:37:55 AM
On 26/08/2013 Damo666 wrote:
>That's not a crown, but a big crack running around. There's a few, like
>bergschrunds, some with some ominous small cracks creeping out from them,
>though I think only the edges are dangerous.
>
Righto. Thanks for the clarification.

bw
27/08/2013
9:47:50 AM
Glide cracks?

http://www.fsavalanche.org/encyclopedia/glide.htm
Damo666
27/08/2013
11:07:18 AM
On 27/08/2013 bw wrote:
>Glide cracks?
>
>http://www.fsavalanche.org/encyclopedia/glide.htm

Sort of, but in the case of Blue Lake the whole snow/ice sheet that you see cracked is probably sliding on the ground (tussock, rock, dirt) rather than on a snow slope beneath the slab.

It would be interesting to set up a webcam showing how the whole place melts out in the Sept-Oct period. Would give a good indication of the dynamics of the place. It's not really like most northern hemisphere places where we get our snow and ice knowledge from - there's no crevasses, no big mountain, no 10m dumps of powder, no temps below -15C. It's probably closer to Scotland more than anything.

Gravity is the same all over though, so when sh!t falls on you, you still get hurt, or if you fall in a hole, if you go down far enough, the wrong way, it doesn't really matter if it's a glacial crevasse or just a hole between the snow and rock.

Capt_mulch
27/08/2013
12:14:43 PM
From my experience it slides on top of the last consolidated snow. We were on the area that had released and were probing with ski poles (baskets removed) that were going in at least one and a half metres. There can be a quite thick layer of snow in that area. Consider the broken cliff to the right of the avalanche - during summer that is a massive stepped / broken cliff - at the moment you can't see any of that - it's way under metres of snow. The 2008 avalanche was 3 metres thick in places.

I suspect what happens is the last fall of snow consolidates and semi-melts then freezes again (I hit some of that heading from the Snowy River up towards Blue Lake, so much fun to ski / walk on). We then get a week of hell cold fronts that do a few good dumps - and cold fronts mean Westerlies, which scream over the top of the Main Range, picking up everything in their path and the first bit of good turbulence / snow fence / deceleration is Blue Lake (and exactly the reason why the glacier was there - in its death throes with global warming for the last 16 ish thousand years).

So, we might get 50 cm of snow, but the Westerly slopes at Blue Lake accumulate a metre, metre and a half over the top of a steep slope of super crusty snow. In these conditions some big cornices build up - right above the highly loaded steep slope to the right of Grey Buttress. I watched at least 50 metres of 2m x 2m cornice break off (peal like a wave), hit the slope below, and the whole slope instantly unloaded. Apart from the events that unfolded with it, it was majestic in its power and was truly awesome.

We probed in the area above the debris field (still bumbed about that - I know what could else have been done now - it's a bit like training for a tsunami) with the rescue team that turned up way later - they were using 3 metre probes - and it was still at least snow probe thick even after unloading.

Thumbs up to a time lapse photo shoot of the melt.

bw
27/08/2013
1:17:05 PM
On 27/08/2013 Damo666 wrote:
>On 27/08/2013 bw wrote:
>>Glide cracks?
>>
>>http://www.fsavalanche.org/encyclopedia/glide.htm
>
>Sort of, but in the case of Blue Lake the whole snow/ice sheet that you
>see cracked is probably sliding on the ground (tussock, rock, dirt) rather
>than on a snow slope beneath the slab.
>

Can be either or as far as i know, to be a glide crack. Stretched by gravity and cracks as opposed to fracturing violently.
Mike Bee
28/08/2013
2:59:49 PM
That avvy probably happened on Friday sometime, maybe afternoon when the weather warmed up and the snow turned to rain.
It was looking like what first thing Saturday when we were there. We'd spent Friday arvo and night getting pissed on, so I wouldn't be surprised if the rain weakened the slab and added more load to it, causing it to slide.

There were quite a few smaller slides around the place too, even on some of those accumulations near the tree bands in Twynam Creek.

There are 14 messages in this topic.

 

Home | Guide | Gallery | Tech Tips | Articles | Reviews | Dictionary | Forum | Links | About | Search
Chockstone Photography | Landscape Photography Australia | Australian Landscape Photography

Please read the full disclaimer before using any information contained on these pages.



Australian Panoramic | Australian Coast | Australian Mountains | Australian Countryside | Australian Waterfalls | Australian Lakes | Australian Cities | Australian Macro | Australian Wildlife
Landscape Photo | Landscape Photography | Landscape Photography Australia | Fine Art Photography | Wilderness Photography | Nature Photo | Australian Landscape Photo | Stock Photography Australia | Landscape Photos | Panoramic Photos | Panoramic Photography Australia | Australian Landscape Photography | Mothers Day Gifts | Gifts for Mothers Day | Mothers Day Gift Ideas | Ideas for Mothers Day | Wedding Gift Ideas | Christmas Gift Ideas | Fathers Day Gifts | Gifts for Fathers Day | Fathers Day Gift Ideas | Ideas for Fathers Day | Landscape Prints | Landscape Poster | Limited Edition Prints | Panoramic Photo | Buy Posters | Poster Prints