Near Lake Irwin

Name: Zach Guy
Title: Near Lake Irwin
Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 12/10/2014
Aspect: North West
Elevation: Below treeline

Snowpack: The top 3″ of the snowpack is small (1mm), near surface facets, fist hardness. The midpack is consistent, 4F to 1F-, mostly rounded grains. No results in any stability tests. Much different snowpack than what I’ve observed recently closer to town.

Coon Basin

Name: Donny (Irwin Guides)
Title: Coon Basin
Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 12/09/2014
Aspect: North East, East, South East, South
Elevation: 9185′ to 12,080′

Weather: Clear, Warm (above freezing at low elevations, near freezing at upper elevations), calm to light wind on ridge tops

Snowpack: HS of 0cm at trailhead to 75 – 90 cm in wind loaded areas. Generally weak structure with facets throughout snowpack. Ski pen of 5 to 10 cm in most areas. Ski pen of 20cm in upper slopes of Coon Basin. Boot pen of 70 cm on wind loaded pocket above Climax Chutes. Highly variable snowpack which doesn’t produce avalanche activity or signs of instability; but doesn’t inspire confidence either. No recent avalanche activity observed. Lower elevations and steeper slopes with SE-S-SW aspect are warming significantly and the crust seems to get thicker by the day.

Peeler

Name: Ross (Irwin Guides)
Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 12/09/2014
Aspect: North, North East, West, North West
Elevation: 12200-9000

Weather: Clear sunny day. Cold night with temps in the valley at 10f @ 7.30 temps increased with elevation. Strong solar, little to no wind at the ridge top of scarps. Doesn’t get much better than this from a temp stand point. more snow needed….please.

Snowpack: Thin snow pack at the top of scarps, 10cm. Obvious wind scouring on the ridge top. A mix of shallow facets and sun crust depending on aspects to the sun. Small cornice build up at the top of the ridge. Skied legends into peeler basin. Surprisingly supportive snow pack with no instabilities or sloughing seen. 10-15 cm of ski pen and excellent early season skiing. Variable snow pack depth ranging from 30-50cm of snow. Strong mid pack, supportive.
Snow pack decreased in strength and depth as you descended in elevation. Tried to ski northern facing slopes between Garfield and Peeler but low snow didn’t allow an access. Snow on the northern slopes leading into the ob be joyful basin at 11800 was thin, week and faceted. Skied across the SW face of peeler on a variety of sun crust and cold snow to access more northern slopes dropping into the ob be joyful basin. Week faceted snow ranging in depth from 30-40cm at 10500 to 25-30cm at 9700. Small facet sloughs observed on terrain greater than 30 degrees. A mix of sun crust and week facets exist on the valley bottom. Surface hoar is growing and exist in a variety of locations, deeper on shaded lower valley locations.

Snodgrass

Name: Ross (Irwin Guides)
Title: Snodgrass
Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 12/08/2014
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 10300-9400

Weather: sunny, no wind, no precip

Snowpack: The approach from Washington gulch was mixed with a variety of sun crusts and facets. Thin snow pack 15-20 cm on this W-SW aspect. Variable week and faceted snow pack on the NE aspect. depth range from 50cm to 20cm dependent on elevation and aspect. Snow around bushes and tall grass trap door like and punchy. no activity observed. Facet skiing for the most part but not yet totally rotten. the cold nights this week will take its toll on the snow pack in this location. Surface hoar will potentially create problems when buried after new snow fall.

Mt. Emmons

Name: Irwin Guides (CBMG)
Title: Irwin Guides (CBMG) Obs from Mt. Emmons
Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 12/09/2014
Aspect: North, North East, East
Elevation: 9000-11,400

Weather: FEW, LIGHT WINDS, NO PRECIP

Snowpack: CRESTED BUTTE ZONE (Mount Emmons

Snowpack/Avalanche Obs: Generally quite faceted snowpack 40-120cm deep, ski pen ~10cm, boot pen close to ground.  Although faceted and poor structure as far as avalanche, snowpack still holding onto a supportive structure for enjoyable touring.  SH and FCsf dominate surface, and ~1mm FC throughout “midpack” with 3-4mm dry Depth hoar within 10cm of ground.  No signs of instability and no evidence of previous avalanches.  CT12, CT11, ECTP12, ECTP15 @ 5cm above ground with snowpack of 50cm.  Slab ~F+ to 4F- hardness over F hard, dry, depth hoar. this structure will be quite problematic when we see snow.  Very continuous, persistent weak layer and ability to step down to ground will be high.

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Snodgrass Study Plot

Name: Nick Schley
Title: Snodgrass Study Plot
Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 12/08/2014
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 9,770 ft.

Snowpack: No signs of instability. See profile.

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Slab

Name: Chris
Title: Slab
Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 12/07/2014
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 11700

Avalanches: Small slide shaded NE steep rocky terrain slid to the ground on baldy peak on shallow rocky terrain. Appears to be several days old because debris was wind scoured. Bigger slide identical aspect two ridges to the East that appeared old as well

Weather: High Pressure warm

Snowpack: No signs of instability

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Observation

Name: Alan Bernholtz
Title: Observation
Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 12/07/2014
Aspect: East
Elevation: 11,000

Avalanches: None observed

Weather: Partly cloudy. Low cloud hung on the area all morning. Calm and mild temps.

Snowpack: Shallow variable snowpack Most places were only about 24-30″ deep but was consolidated and well bonded. The layers seem to be bonding very well and the weak layer on the ground seemed to be gaining strength.

December 7, 2014

Name: Irwin
Title: December 7, 2014
Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 12/07/2014
Aspect: West
Elevation: 11,700-10,700

Snowpack: No signs of instability. Variable in depth and structure but mostly weak. Shallow (up high 30 cm) moist where it is sun exposed, dry and weak where it is shaded. Mid Slope: 30 to 70cm within 20 feet. From fist to some 4F+ mid pack. Facets on the ground are still small 1-2mm and moist. Reactive where dry facets sit on top of moist DH. CT 21 & 11 SC on 2mm rounding DH. PST 40/100 End. ECTP 24 SC.

Shaded aspects getting weaker

Name: Zach Guy
Title: Shaded aspects getting weaker
Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 12/06/2014
Aspect: North, South
Elevation: 12,000 – 9,000 ft

Avalanches: Only minor sluffing on steep terrain, but we are heading towards facet sluffs pretty soon.

Snowpack: Toured up Red Lady skin track into Redwell Basin. On South aspects Near & Below Treeline, the snowpack is almost entirely facets with a couple melt-freeze crust layers near the surface of varying thickness depending on slope angle.

On North aspects: Above treeline was variable depth and density. The surface was grabby wind crusts, with faceted snow below and/or above. Near and below treeline is all faceting, in the 4F range, 1-1.5 mm in size. Snowdepth around 30-50 cm. Trapdoor skiing below 11,000 feet, with ski pen frequently to the ground.

A few patches of surface hoar, mostly in low elevation creek drainages or sheltered southerly aspects near treeline. See photo.

Surface hoar on Red Lady, near treeline.