Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 12/12/2017
Name: Cam Smith

Subject: Coney’s
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 10,700


None observed

Weather: Warm and sunny. Above freezing in the afternoon. Calm winds.

Snowpack: 15-35cm HS. Generally deeper as you got higher and in loading prone areas. Thin, fragile sun crust on the surface. 1-2mm facets to the ground, everywhere. No signs of instability.


Poverty Gulch to Richmond Mountain

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 12/13/2017
Name: Eric Murrow

Subject: Poverty Gulch to Richmond Mountain
Aspect: North, North East, East, West, North West
Elevation: 9,250 – 12,500


Weather: Morning started with few clouds/nearly clear and at 10am clouds rolled in and was overcast the rest of the day. Winds were well behaved with speeds of only about 5mph, infrequent questing up to about 10mph. At summit of Richmond winds were still very light out of the west. Overall pleasant day for a walk.

Snowpack: Most surfaces were either facets, faceting windboard, or a few crusts. Travel was generally quite supportive, making travel easy.

On the way up, we crossed many wind loaded pockets (still only around 70cm deep, N -E aspects) near and above treeline and had no collapsing or shooting cracks. Dug numerous quick hand pits in these deeper pockets; rarely found slab/weaklayer structure. Many of these deeper wind deposits were just supportive windboard over very weak F hardness facets. Had a hard time finding hazardous structure. Slab structure was very small in surface area and was discontinuous from rest of slope, even in areas with same surface conditions.

Ski conditions were mostly crap, but at least supportive. Here are a few photos showing snowcover over some of this terrain.


Paradise divide tour

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 12/11/2017
Name: Eric Murrow

Subject: Paradise divide tour
Aspect: North, North East, East, South East, South West, West, North West
Elevation: 9,600 – 11,750 Weather: Bluebird all day. Winds were blowing steady but light around 5 – 15, gusting to 20mph. Winds were out of the north. Air temps were pleasant with reading of 34f @ 11,100, 11:30am.
Snowpack: On the first part of our ascent went up westerly facing slopes 9,600 – 11,000. Snow surfaces were facets, and faceting crusts. Snow was shallow generally less than 35cm. Skiing was supportive.

Easterly slopes off of Cinnamon 11,000 – 11,750, were a again a mix of facets and crusts. Wind erosion has stripped much of this terrain, leaving many sculpted eroded features. Snow was supportive. Terrain features facing SE, out of the wind, softened just a cm or two which made for a few nice supportive, smeary turns around 1:30pm. Similar SE aspects the had more wind stayed cool and didn’t soften.

Dug one quick profile on an due North slope at 11,250 which had seen previous loading(HS 78cm), and found a cohesive slab resting over the Oct/early Nov snow. This site produced a hard propagating test result in an ECT (ECTP 21). This site had deeper snowpack than the immediate adjacent terrain, but shows the potential for isolated areas with deeper accumulations from loading to have a slab/weak layer present. See photo.


Washington Gulch and Paradise Divide

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 12/11/2017
Name: Ben Pritchett

Subject: Washington Gulch and Paradise Divide
Aspect: North, North East, East, South East, South, South West, West, North West

Weather: Bluebird day with mild temperatures and light northwest winds.
Snowpack: Went in search of the elusive near treeline persistent slab structure. Evidence was very difficult to find. Only in Paradise Divide proper (behind Baldy) was there enough snow for any slab structure, and there it was extremely discontinuous and isolated to small pockets. Bumped into our CBAC intern, digging a profile near a profile we dug prior to the November 17th storm. Interestingly, the HS was nearly identical. The slab was less stiff today than a month ago. Elsewhere in the zone, away from the micro-snowclimate at Paradise Divide, the near treeline snowpack is simply too thin.


Treasury Ridge

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 12/10/2017
Name: Sydney Dickinson

Subject: Treasury Ridge

Snowpack: We spent the last two days on treasury ridge. Saw that the wine couloirs don’t go yet and a huge mt goat is living up there! Yesterday we skied south aspect. It was supportable but awful skiing. Today after getting denied from the couloir we dropped into rock creek on more of the east aspect and found some good turns in the wind riffles. Also supportable. Finished off the day with some sled laps on Baldy. Someone high marked the gut, got pretty high, no results.

Slate River/Cinnamon Mountain

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 12/07/2017
Name: Ian Havlick

Subject: Slate River/Cinnamon Mountain
Aspect: East, South, South West, West
Elevation: 9500-11500

Avalanches:no new avalanches observed, but did see evidence of pretty widespread wet loose cycle in valley bottom. Weather: Overcast, flurries, cold and steady north wind all day. accumulations 1/2″. temps 14-19ºF.
Snowpack: did not encounter any persistent slabs in terrain travelled. Obvious crusts, sometimes supportable on more southerly slopes, 3mm facets below. Safe generalization would be that snowpack with depths less than 3ft is entirely faceted out, capped by 3-10cm melt freeze crust. Ice climbing is shaping up though and spelunking in 2017 snowpack is novel! New fallen snow was blowing into 2-4″ windslabs-no hazard.


Mt. Axtell

Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 12/03/2017
Name: Thomas Ney
Subject: Mt. Axtell
Aspect: North, North East, East
Elevation: 11,000 ft


Observed an old large debris pile from a wet slide on a North facing slope at around 11,000ft, WS-N-R2-D2/3-O. In the debris there are small trees around 3inches thick that where broken and microwave to large tv size pieces of debris. The avalanche cut out a 5.5 foot trench on the lower angle slopes underneath the steep rocky slopes above (See picture). The surface that was exposed in the trench was isothermal snow (See Picture). The avalanche or avalanches must have came down from the steep rocky train above after our unseasonable warm up following our last major snow storm on November 18.

Weather: Partly sunny in the morning turning into mostly overcast by mid day. Temps in the morning where in the high 20s and by mid day were near 30 degrees Fahrenheit at 10,000ft to 11,000ft.
Snowpack: So so thin…. My partner and I dug a snow pit on a 27 degree east facing slope around 10,400ft. We found the depth to be 33cm. At the bottom there is a 5cm isothermal crust. After the isothermal crust there is a 12cm of finger density crust. After the finger density crust there is a 13.5cm of facets/sugar snow. On top is a 2.5cm of breakable crust.



Upper Slate Recon

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 12/02/2017
Name: Ian Havlick
Subject: Upper Slate Recon
Aspect: North, North East, East, South
Elevation: 10-11,500

Avalanches:  Observed several D1 wet loose avalanches that looked a few days old, and one wet loose triggered persistent slab below steep cliffed terrain on a northeast facing slope near treeline. Observed through binoculars and did not investigated, but debris looked to have run like a wet loose, scouring to talus below.

Weather: Scuddy clouds this morning cleared to partly cloudy skies midday, occasional high clouds during the afternoon. Very warm temperatures with 46º in valley, and 41º at 11,000ft at 1500. Skiff of new snow from flurry overnight.

Snowpack: Quite low snowpack overall with dry conditions on south and west facing slopes near and below treeline. On shady north and northeast facing slopes, snowpack varied between shallow, moist, isothermal snow near and below treeline to more faceted snowpack with thickening, slick surface crusts 5-8cm thick.


Site visit to Gothic East Face apron

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 11/27/2017
Name: Ben Pritchett
Subject: Site visit to Gothic East Face apron
Aspect: North, North East, East, South East

North to northeast = weak, faceting snow, topped w/ temperature crust, avg HS 40-50cm.

East = dense, moist, supportive surfaces, with frozen ice columns through dry snow connecting to the ground (“percolation tubes”), avg HS 10-30cm.

Southeast to south = moist to wet well-developed Melt Forms (“corn”), avg HS 5-20cm.

November Wet Slab

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 11/26/2017
Name: Ben Pritchett
Subject: November Wet Slab
Aspect: East
Elevation: 12,200


This avalanche was first observed at 8am on Nov 26th, and reported to the CBAC around 3pm. The debris was described as gleaming white, looking fresh at 8am, though the observer assumed it likely ran the afternoon prior (Saturday, November 25). By the time I got eyes on the slide at around 3:15pm, it was in the shadows, so all details reported here are based on the attached photo and phone call with the observer.

A photo from prior to Nov. 17 storm does show the presence of old snow in the particular location of this avalanche, and the avalanche photo does show a white bed surface. Reports from East facing terrain on Mt. Bellview indicated that snow surfaces were wet ~15cm from the surface at around 12,000′, so I presume melt-water pooled on the Nov. 17 interface, releasing this slide on the afternoon of Nov. 25.