Irwin Tenure

Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 03/24/2017
Name: Irwin Guides
Subject: Irwin Tenure

Snowpack: 5″ of snow overnight w/ .45″ SWE. Sun and warm temps transitioned snow from dry to wet by mid day. 5″ settled to 2″ by end of the day. It felt like when the snow was transitioning it could produce loose wet and not wanting to bond with crust underneath but then got wet and felt well bonded.

East Beckwith Wet Slab

Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 03/21/2017
Name: Michael Mobley
Subject: East Beckwith Wet Slab
Aspect: North, North East, East
Elevation: 12,000

Avalanches: Snowmobiling on Monday evening I spotted this wet side on East Beckwith. I threw the sled in a couple for scale.

Fx Note: this slide looks to have failed as a large wet slab avalanche, on an ENE facing slope between 10,000-12,000ft.


Slate River obs

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 03/23/2017
Name: Zach Guy
Subject: Slate River obs
Aspect: Various aspects observed from valley bottom
Elevation: Below treeline

Avalanches: Not much for recent wet activity up the Slate to Poverty Gulch; a couple of minor D1’s in the past few days on various aspects from extreme/rocky terrain, and 2 larger wet loose off of Climax Chutes, one of which I reported yesterday, the other likely ran yesterday as well. See photos.
Snowpack: 3-4″ inch refreeze overnight; supportive to boots in the a.m. unless you took a hard step. Left early before the snow softened.

D2. NE aspect BTL

D1.5 NE aspect BTL. Gouged to the ground up higher in a thin, rocky area.

Wet loose action on BTL northerlies

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/22/2017
Name: Zach Guy
Subject: Wet loose action on BTL northerlies
Aspect: North, North East
Elevation: Below treeline

Avalanches: Fresh D1 to D2 wet loose on northerly aspects near town. All of these likely ran last 24 hours, appeared to entrain only the top 5-10″ of wet snow.
-D1 in Half Bowl on Axtell
-D1.5 in Unemployment Chute
-D1.5 and D2 Happy Chutes
-D1.5 in Climax Chutes

Also a 3 or 4 fresh looking D2 glide avalanches on Whetstone, NE aspect BTL. Uncertain on the timing of these, looked to be sometime in the past few days; best guess is they ran today.

D1.5 Happy CHutes
D2 Happy CHutes
D1 Half Bowl

Poor refreeze at Irwin

Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 03/22/2017
Name: Zach Guy
Subject: Poor refreeze at Irwin
Aspect: South East, South, South West
Elevation: 10,000-12,000 ft

Avalanches: Looks like a fresh wet D2 off of NE face of Mt. Owen from the last day or so.
Weather: Overcast skies thickened through the day; some green housing in the morning. High of 45 at 10k, 34 at 12k. Moderate SW ridge top winds
Snowpack: A trace of new snow and rain overnight on top of a thin refreeze. Surfaces remained frozen at 12,000 feet, but the snowpack was or became punchy at lower elevations. Snowmobile track plunging deep when you would get off of old tracks. Didn’t travel on any steep terrain to observe wet instabilities

Red Lady Glades

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/21/2017
Name: Ross
Subject: Red Lady Glades
Aspect: South West
Elevation: 8,900-12400

Weather: Clear sky in the morning becoming overcast as the day progressed. No wind. Temps at 7:30 26f valley bottom. Rapidly warming with strong solar am. Overcast by 12:30 with tens into the mid 40f.
Snowpack: Inversion over night and a slight freeze made for supportable conditions for only a brief moment today. No signs of instability seen. Rapid warming meant we had to be finished by 12:00 due to moist snow pack towards the valley floor. Boot pen at 12:00 was 15-20cm.


Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/21/2017
Name: Tim Brown
Subject: Axtell
Aspect: North, North East, West
Elevation: 9,600 – 11,700

Weather: Skies were clear at 8am, but clouds increased to produce mostly cloudy skies by noon. Light SW winds at 11,700′ @ 11am.
Snowpack: 10-15cm refreeze on mid-elevation west-facing forested slopes was still supportable (no ski penetration) at 11am. HS 2m.

Previously wind-loaded snow on steep north and northeast aspects above treeline was still dry and “chalky.” Snowpack tests on the mostly pencil-hard upper snowpack produced no results (ECTX on 40* slope, NE aspect @ 11,700′). Snow on northerly aspects near and below treeline was still supportable (10cm ski pen) at noon, but the crust was only ~5cm thick with moist snow below it for at least 60cm. HS 2m

Slate/Wash Gulch Divide

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/21/2017
Name: Ian Havlick
Subject: Slate/Wash Gulch Divide
Aspect: South East, South, South West
Elevation: BTL

Avalanches: Observed active natural cornice fall off E-Facing ridge line above Long Lake. Numerous other large cornice failures along same E-Facing ridgeline, some triggering size 2 LW over last few days.
Weather: Increasing clouds throughout morning and rapid warming between 8-10am. Calm to very light west breeze at ridgetop. 25º at TH at 8:30 warmed to 43º by 11:30
Snowpack: Very supportable 4-6″ rockhard crust aspects travelled this morning, including dense aspen forest. Strong solar and warming ambient temperatures quickly softened E-SE surfaces by 930 and 1030 all BTL aspects’ crusts were breaking down. Punchy by 12 noon. Snowpack in 8800-10400′ entirely isothermal and melting fast. Avg HS 40-100cm


Increasing clouds slowing today’s warmup

Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 03/20/2017
Name: Evan Ross, Zach Guy
Subject: Increasing clouds slowing today’s warmup
Aspect: North East, East, North West
Elevation: 11,500-13,050

Avalanches: One fresh D2 wet loose avalanche in the past 48 hours, perhaps a few new smaller ones as well.  The D2 started at about 12,000ft on the south side of Mt Owen, and gouged down to the ground in a thin, rocky area. Probably failed around 3/18.
Weather: Increasing clouds through out the day, becoming mostly cloudy. Moderate westerly winds at ridgeline.
Snowpack: Snow surfaces stayed relatively cooler today thanks to increased clouds and wind. More variable snow surfaces in the alpine. All forms of wind effect, buffed, scraped or sculpted into ugly things. Sun crusts yep, and even some elusive decomposed soft snow surfaces.

On an East aspect around 12,600ft the wetting front had only made it down about 15-20cm’s with dry snow below. In the afternoon, the surface crusts broke down on steeper or rockier easterly slopes despite the cloudy skies.

Northwesterly aspects stayed cold with smooth wind polished or textured faceted snow surfaces.

Hot White Lava Flow

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 03/19/2017
Name: Tim Brown
Subject: Hot White Lava Flow
Aspect: North, North East, East, South East, South, South West, West
Elevation: 9,600′-12,600′

Avalanches: WL-N-D2.5 (from March 18th?) on a steep, cliff-laden SE aspect ~12000′, debris confined by gully, ran ~2,500′, gouged out old snow and produced some small crowns on the sides of the gully. I don’t think this was triggered by cornice fall and although I could not make out a crown from my vantage points, this may have been a wet slab rather than wet loose avalanche.
Weather: Hot and sunny with light westerly winds
Snowpack: The transition to a spring snowpack is well on it’s way, but not yet very dependable. The window of good corn skiing was pretty short-lived on sun-exposed slopes before the crust softened and ski penetration got deep today. Water was running over ice bulges on steep east-facing slopes between 11,500′ and 12,000′ @9:30am. I also noticed a significant crack on a high-elevation SSW-facing slope. I agree that the wet slab concern is growing.

Meanwhile, it’s still dry and “chalky” on high-elevation (>12,000′), shaded northerly slopes.
Stiff, supportable crust lasted until at least 10:30 am on the valley floor of Washington Gulch, but snow in the dense forest barely refroze overnight (moist snow surface at 7:30am @ 10,000′). Stay away clouds!