Schuylkill Ridge Wet Slabs

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 05/05/2020
Subject: Schuylkill Ridge Wet Slabs
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 11,200-9,200

Avalanches: Cornice triggered wet slabs running to the ground and to the valley floor. Yogi’s and the path just north of Easter Island.

Mt Emmons Wet Activity

CBAC 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 04/30/2020
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 11,400′
Avalanches:

Large cornice fall triggered a full-depth Wet Slab avalanche below.

Reported by Ben Pritchett-CAIC

 

Repeat offender day after day: Wet Slide on Whetstone Bear Claw

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 04/30/2020
Name: Turner Petersen
Subject: Repeat offender day after day: Wet Slide on Whetstone Bear Claw
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 10,600
Avalanches:

Over the last few days I have watched the lowest bear claw on Whetstone shed snow. Wet slides started as small point releases a few days ago but while at work today I heard a loud “whoosh” noise while working in Skyland. I looked up to see muddy wet snow racing down the bottom of the path snapping small trees. The sound of this slide across a busy highway was impressive to me Along with the fact of three days of constant activity.

Weather: HOT. Rain event a few days ago with hardly any sort of freeze in the last few days.
Snowpack: N/A observed from road

Preliminary Accident Report Climax Chutes Wet Slab Fatality

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 04/29/2020
Subject: Preliminary Accident Report Climax Chutes Wet Slab Fatality
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 10,000

PRELIMINARY ACCIDENT SUMMARY: A group of four backcountry skiers ascended Mount Emmons. Descending the northeast side through an area known as the Climax Chutes, the group triggered a shallow long-running wet-loose avalanche. The group descended a ridgeline one-at-a-time, with Skier 1 leading. Skier 1 triggered several more wet-loose avalanches, then descended out of sight down the steepening ridge. The group continued down the ridge after losing contact with Skier 1. One of the wet-loose avalanches carried Skier 1 over a cliff and triggered a deeper, and larger, wet-slab avalanche. The avalanche carried Skier 1 down a very steep, timbered slope. The group found Skier 1 unconscious and injured on the treed slope. They attempted to revive him, but his injuries were too severe. They made contact with local first responders, who assisted the group back to the trailhead. Skier 1’s body was recovered the following day.

You can read the Preliminary Report here.

Photos:

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Below Treeline Snodgrass Observations

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 04/28/2020
Name: Ian Havlick
Subject: Below Treeline Snodgrass Observations
Aspect: North East, East, South East, South
Elevation: 9800-10,400
Avalanches: No wet slabs observed in terrain travelled or surrounding terrain on Belleview, White, Avery, etc. Some larger wet loose avalanche gouging down to ground on west facing terrain visible from, ski out in late afternoon on White Mtn.

Weather: Overcast and extremely warm with car thermometer at TH at 0830 showing 46º and field measurements in the +8C (48F) range. High overcast clouds persisted until about 1130. Light NW winds were persistent in the afternoon.

Snowpack: Average height of snow in areas throughly dug (21 profiles last 2 days) and extensive transects show average HS 85-110cm with dark timber holding most snow currently. Freeze on April 26th was most pronounced in open areas, with darker timber not seeing full freeze with longwave radiation retention. Although fully isothermal in all profiles, large batch of free water and pronounced “wetting fronts” visible to naked eye being held up by various old melt freeze crusts 30-50cm deep in snowpack. Weak, smaller grained 4F and Fist hard snow below those crusts and pooling free water. Concerning.

 

Photos:

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Wet slides in Washington Gulch at similar aspect/elevation to accident

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 04/28/2020
Subject: Wet slides in Washington Gulch at similar aspect/elevation to accident
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 10400
Avalanches:

In light of the accident today I wanted to reach out with some info about the conditions today. I was in Washington Gulch and skinned 4/5th up Coney’s. At 9am at roughly the same aspect and elevation as the accident, I was able to trigger small slides on a 30-35o test rollover. There was poor refreeze overnight and in many places I could easily punch a pole 2.5-3ft (probably to the bottom of the snowpack). I topped out at about 10.8k ft and conditions did not improve with further elevation gain.

Don’t know if this is helpful or not. Condolences to everyone involved.

 

Weather:

Snowpack:

Axtell 1st and 2nd Bowl

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 04/19/2020
Subject: Axtell 1st and 2nd Bowl
Aspect: North East, East
Elevation: 11000-11600 ft.

Avalanches: We saw a few crowns about 4-8 inches deep in 2nd bowl across all its aspects. These looked to be storm slabs. Only noticed minor wind-loading in1st and 2nd bowls, but did find snow depths varying from a few inches to around 18 inches on top of crust. Below this crust we found the facets discussed in other recent obs.

After watching other parties ski, seeing their sluff and observing propagation we decided to ski a North-facing line in 1st Bowl. Snow activity ranged from lots of sluffing to storm slabs propagating 50ish feet. In some cases storm snow ran up to about 1000 feet. Nothing stepped down below the crust.

Weather: 830am-12pm, high 20sF-low 40sF, intermittent clouds with windows of strong sun causing rapid temperature oscillations all day; occasionally short periods of snow S1-S2. Little to no breeze.

Snowpack: From 11600 ft. down to about 10300 ft. we skied moderately dense but wintery pow. Below that the storm’s effects were shallower, and the crust below the new snow thicker and more noticeable. At 10k ft. and below the snow was Spring mank.

Skier triggered Avalanche, Mt. Axtell

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 04/19/2020
Subject: Skier triggered Avalanche, Mt. Axtell
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 11,600

Avalanches: 11:50 AM: Mt. Axtell. Skier triggered avalanche which ran into third bowl. Triggered by a ski cut on the NE aspect of the ridge which separates second and third bowls.
The slide fell on the hard crust found on northerly aspects. It was clearly fresh snow from the most recent storm, 9-12” thick. Propagated about 40 feet, and even wider half way down, ran about 800 -1000 feet.

Weather: Clear, post storm

Wet Loose Slide

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 04/19/2020
Subject: Wet Loose Slide
Aspect: South
Elevation: 11,400

Avalanches: In the Red Lady Glades, skiers triggered 3 wet loose avalanches at 10:15 am. Slides were about 3 meters across and 6 inches deep. They ran about 50 feet. The slope angle was about 35 degrees. The main risk of the slide was the potential to be knocked down and carried and into trees on the slope.

Weather: Partially cloudy, warm.

Snowpack: A new layer of snow on top of sun baked snow. The snow was getting heavy by 10am but not extremely slushy when the slides were triggered.