Baxter Basin Avalanche

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 02/21/2018
Name: Jeff Smith

Subject:
Aspect: North, North East
Elevation: 10,000-11,000

Avalanches:

We observed this large avalanche in Baxter Basin. The crown was estimated at up to ten feet deep and one mile wide. The avalanche ran about mile down it’s path.  (Forecaster note- Photo taken  2/21)

Weather:
Snowpack:

Photos:

Pittsburg/Redwell Avalanche

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 02/23/2018
Name: Ian HAVLICK

Subject: Pittsburg/Redwell Avalanche
Aspect: South, South West, West
Elevation: BTL-NTL

Avalanches:

Break in orographic cloudiness and flurries revealed MASSIVE avalanche in Redwell (north side of Mount Emmons). Looked to have failed within past 12hrs. Makes sense with efficient SW wind loading. Failed nearly wall to wall. R4, D3. observed from distance but look forward to investigating. Also looked to have pulled a sympathetic pocket lookers left, closer to Right and Wrong chute, opposite to Wolverine basin (NW facing)

Weather: Mostly cloudy, light to moderate SE-S-SW winds. Temps in the 15-20ºF. minimal new snow accumulation during day, but ~3-4″ overnight
Snowpack: HS 60-120cm. in west facing BTL and NTL terrain, developing 1F mid pack, with still concerning structure and basal facets. Eroding melt freeze crusts 60cm deep (1/2 way down pack). ECTX on BTL, 34º slope (on race course). Would not want to push slope angle steeper because structure is still spooky. Also found suspicious interface and possible surface hoar 30cm from surface. Unreactive in formal tests but bears watching…

Photos:

Natural Avalanche, Gothic

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 02/23/2018
Name: Peter Innes

Subject: Natural Avalanche, Gothic
Aspect: East
Elevation: 11,000′

Avalanches:

Observed a large natural slide, ~R4 D2.5 , breaking below a cliff band at the bottom of the E face of Gothic Mountain. Crown estimated to be 3′ deep, maybe 250′ across. Debris ran almost 3/4 of the way to the valley floor, approx. 1500′

Weather: Variable snow fluries w/ minimal to no accumulation. Moderate winds blowing up valley which lessened into the afternoon.
Snowpack: No whoomphing, cracking, or skier triggered slides while skinning & skiing E-facing terrain BTL, 30-35º, around the saddle b/w Snodgrass & Gothic.

Photos:

Skier Triggered Avalanche, Snodgrass

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 02/23/2018
Name: Jeff Banks

Subject: Skier Triggered Avalanche, Snodgrass
Aspect: North, North East, East, South East, South
Elevation: BTL-NTL

Avalanches:

possibly a skier triggered D2 just above the road on snodgrass. Too far across the valley to discern.
red line is just above possible crown. blue line looked like a skier track. will try to get eyes on tomorrow.

Weather: super variable winds from multiple directions & intensity. from SW to N & calm to strong. Skies varied quickly from Obscured to OVC to brief clearing spells
HN 1-2″ depending on elevation. Often use the analogy of animal types to describe the avalanche problem for the day…”today we have a PWL that’s like a mountain lion -don’t f_ck with it, just avoid it”. yeah…well that’s great and all til you actually ski into a real mountain lion. ~2mi North of Gothic on the East side there’s a big meow-meow.
Snowpack: 3 medium collapses in the flats, HS ~40-50cm of facets covered by wind slab & crusts. 1 medium collapse on SW @ 10500 ~15* HS ~60cm. tracks partial to totally drifted in open slopes 9400-10900 Flat valley bottoms to S-SW-W

Photos:

North of Gothic

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 02/21/2018
Name: Jeff Banks

Subject: North of Gothic
Aspect: South, South West
Elevation: Below Treeline

Avalanches:

nothing new. numerous older on the East side of Baldy massif ~6xD2/2.5.
ATL & NTL NE-E-SE



Weather: cold, mostly clear, intense solar
light to mod winds, no transport BTL

Snowpack: no signs of instability, supportive crust w/ new snow on top
only a few places near dark timber where snow moistened on low angle S& SW

Photos:

East River

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 02/21/2018
Name: Evan Ross

Subject: East River
Aspect: NE
Elevation: 9,000-9,500

Avalanches:

Not seeing anything fresh looking around the East River Valley.

Weather: Clear with increasing clouds in the afternoon. No wind.
Snowpack: 40 to 60cm. Variable snowpack structure, any potential PS avalanche problem was isolated in the terrain. Mostly soft snow over weak snow, or soft snow over wind-board over weak snow. Skiing nicely with yesterdays new snow having come in without wind in the area and cold temps keeping surfaces weakening and soft.

Photos:

West Anthracite Obs

Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 02/20/2018
Name: Andy Sovick

Subject: West Anthracite Obs
Aspect: North West
Elevation: 11000

Avalanches:

Observed many natural slides above TL on leeward slopes.



Weather: Significant winds at high elevations. Plumage easily seen from miles away.

Snowpack: Dug a few pits in the western side of the Anthracites just below TL. 4' to 6' depth. Recent storm layers appeared to be well bonded to each other. Large facets at ground level 5 to 20 cm deep. C.T. and ECT failed at 11th tap at the ground facet layer.

Photos:

Gothic Mountain Tour

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 02/20/2018
Name: Ben Pritchett, Evan Ross, Keith Bauer

Subject: Gothic Mountain Tour

Avalanches:
One small (D1) storm slab on an East aspect at 10,700′ in a forest clearing.
Saw the debris from the Gothic North bowl slide filled the East River creek bed near the 401 / Copper Creek Trailhead.

Weather: Cold. Low visibility. Steady snowfall, light frigid winds. ~4″ new snow near town, ~10″ near Paradise Divide.
Snowpack: Surprisingly not a single collapse observed setting track from Gothic to 403 area down to Pittsburg. Settled, creamy snow surfaces.
Buried crusts down 25cm on Southeast slopes don’t have enough slab to be concerning yet – slab too soft. No propagation in ECT’s, though CT’s pop the facets buried below.
Pushed on several small wind drifts near treeline and these recent pillows and cornices showed only minor cracking near the surface.
If you’re feeding off the audible que’s and avoiding steep terrain, it’s easy to forget there are dangerous deeply buried weak layers in the shady steep terrain.

Photos:

Coney’s

Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 02/20/2018
Name: Chris Martin

Subject: Coney’s
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 9,800 – 10,800′

Avalanches:

none observed but visibility obscured

Weather: Obscured with S1-S2-S1 fluctuating throughout the day.
Light-Moderate NW downvalley winds with minimal drifting down low.
Snowpack: HS 125cm @ 10,800.
HST 8″ low density, no slab yet. Deeper in drifted spots and deeper in valley bottom.
Surface: F-4F-1F-F(became F @ 40cm to ground w/ 2-3mm DH) :Ground

Accident on Schuylkill

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 02/19/2018
Name: Ben Pritchett and Evan Ross

Subject: Accident on Schuylkill
Aspect: North East, East
Elevation: 11,300′

Avalanches:

PRELIMINARY DETAILS of an avalanche accident on Schuylkill Ridge in Birthday Bowl area.

2 skiers descended into the skier right side of Birthday Bowl. After a short first pitch, skier 1 was skiing to the right of the Birthday Bowl gully, while skier 2 was posted uphill of skier 1 watching from some distance below the ridge.
Skier 1 heard skier 2 yell, saw snow moving around him, was caught in the slide briefly and pulled under the snow.  After popping back to the surface he was able to exit and arrest by grabbing a tree, moving maybe 100′ downhill. Skier 1 sustained lower leg injuries and lost some gear. After calling 911 to initiate a rescue response learned that skier 2 had already called 911.  Relieved that his partner had called 911 too, skier 1 walked down the skier’s right side of the path to the toe of the debris and found skier 2’s partial burial site and tracks heading downhill.

When the avalanche released, skier 2 yelled to warn skier 1 but was pulled off his feet from his stationary position and carried downhill approximately 1000′ vertical feet in a very rough ride. He sustained substantial injuries along the way from impacts with trees. After coming to rest partially buried on the debris pile, skier 2 initially switched their transceiver to search and did not find a signal. He too contacted 911. Severely injured and without any information about the position of his partner yet, he then began to crawl downhill.

CB SAR rescuers contacted both parties a short distance downhill of the debris, and evacuated both parties for further medical care.

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