Upper Washington Gulch

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 03/28/2020
Name: Evan Ross
Subject: Upper Washington Gulch
Aspect: East, South
Elevation: 10,500-12,500

Avalanches: Kicking cornices onto an easterly facing slope at ~11,700ft, mostly produced loose snow avalanches and a few thin wind slabs. The largest cornice was about a VW Jetta size. That one was a hair-trigger, as it had grown off of a faceted root and a rocky outcrop. That Jetta landed on a loaded section of the slope below, that was further perched between other rock outcrops. A 45 to 55cm slab further pulled out. That slab didn’t propagate notably far in the terrain and produced no results on the more uniform snowpack it eventually ladened on. D1.5 in size.

Weather: Broken cloud cover with bits of sun coming and going. The Ruby Range hung in the clouds the most and of course further east appeared to have fewer clouds. Winds appeared to be the strongest in the morning. Around 10am at the trailhead blowing snow was light, by the time we claimed into the alpine midday, blowing snow was also light.

Snowpack: Well, I called about 5″ of recent new snow near Elkton. My partner called 1″, I’m going to go with my number… Less snow than expected. The previous winds made measuring new snow depths pointless near and above treeline. Lots of hard wind-board from the extreme wind event, sitting just under the new snow. Of course, lots of old crusts out there too making for some scrappy, but low hazard skiing. The main avalanche problems encountered where fresh Wind Slabs and Cornice Hazards.

The extreme wind event made some monster cornices. No wonder we saw so many big avalanches below corniced ridgelines.

Gothic 7am Weather Update

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 03/28/2020
Name: billy barr
Subject: Gothic 7am Weather Update

Weather: Light, scattered snow Friday with scattered light, but dense, snow overnight. Totals ar 2″ new snow with 0.20″ water with snowpack at 47″. It is currently cloudy with a very light snow and the low temp. 10F, which is also the current. Wind is currently light from the west and was moderate during the night. Wind continued to move snow yesterday.

Cement Creek AM Snow Update

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Cement Creek Area
Date of Observation: 03/28/2020
Name: Cosmo
Subject: Cement Creek Snow
Elevation: 9300′
Weather: 1 inch of new snow on the ground this morning.

Schuylkill Ridge near treeline

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 03/27/2020
Name: Eric Murrow & Evan Ross
Subject: Schuylkill Ridge near treeline
Aspect: North, North East, East
Elevation: 8900 – 11400′

Avalanches:By early afternoon we could trigger quick running D1 Dry Loose avalanches on steep terrain running on crusts or stiff windboards.

Weather: Overcast skies with light snowfall. Snowfall rates picked up around 1pm to S1 rate. Winds were blowing from the southwest at the ridgetop transporting the new snow. New snow accumulations were 4.5 inches at 345pm (11,400′).

Snowpack: Ascended through shaded below treeline terrain up to 11,400′. Below treeline slopes had melt/freeze crusts on all aspects except those very close to due north. No signs of instability while ascending shaded terrain – found around 40cm snow above the 3/18 interface on sheltered slopes.

We dug a test profile near a recent avalanche – just one small terrain feature away. Expected to find a stout Wind Slab below ridge top, but dense wind-deposited snow tapered off quickly to just a few inches thick 20 feet below ridgetop. At this drifted site there was 65cm of snow resting above the 3/18 interface. ECT produced propagating results at three interfaces – an easy result beneath the stout windboard (from the recent wind event), a moderate result in a soft layer in the middle of the slab, and a hard result above the 3/18 crust (likely interface for the nearby recent avalanche). The column slid into the pit with energy above the 3/18 crust ‘cash register’ style. See profile photo.

We could easily produce Dry Loose avalanches in the 6 or so inches of new snow on the leeward side of the ridge. They quickly picked up speed on the old surfaces of melt/freeze crusts or windboard.

Cement mtn slides

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Cement Creek Area
Date of Observation: 03/26/2020
Name: Cosmo
Subject: Cement mtn slides
Aspect: North East

Avalanches:Numerous slides on NE facing slope below wind loaded ridge. Ridgeline elevation is just below 12k’. Some look like wind slabs failing. Others might have been triggered by cornice fall or roller balls falling off cliffs on afternoon of 3/25. A couple stepped down into deeper layers further down the slope.
Photos:

 

Lots of avalanche

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/26/2020
Name: Eric Murrow
Subject: Lots of avalanches from wind event

Avalanches:Numerous large and very large avalanches in near and above treeline terrain. Many appeared to have been triggered by cornice fall yesterday evening, last night, and this morning. See photos for a tour.
Whetstone – Main Bowl D2, 2x Hidden Lake Bowl, D2 & D3
Baldy – Nirvana Bowl, D2.5
Schuylkill Ridge – D2
Angle Pass- D2
Gothic – 2x East Face, D3
Mt Emmons – Wolverine, D2
Scarp Ridge – 4x D3, 2x D2
Western Basin in Anthracite Range – 2x D2.5

Photos:

Gothic megatour

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 03/25/2020
Name: Lee
Subject: Gothic megatour
Aspect: North, North East, East
Elevation: 10000 and above

Avalanches: Many. 500 foot crown on ne baldy, ~2 ft deep, on emerald couloir headwall, 200 ft wide glide avvy that went to ground on the flank dividing emerald and Quigley. These slides occured somewhere around 9am
The northeast slide path on gothic ripped wall to wall around noon, leaving an extremely deep crown

Lots of wind effect but no slides in queens basin. Nachos cornice may be too large to enter the line now.

As I skied out white ridge, a massive cornice failure occured on ef gothic, ripping the fall line to dirt. 7pm

Didnt get many pictures, light wasn’t playing ball
Weather: Cloudy as, windy as

Snowpack: Extremely variable

Photos:

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Carbon Peak

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/25/2020
Name: Evan Ross
Subject: Carbon Peak
Aspect: North, North East, East, South
Elevation: 9.500-12,000

Weather: Late afternoon outing. Mostly cloudy sky, warm temps, and lighter winds then expected. Around 4pm at an exposed 12,000ft the westerly winds were light to moderate.

Snowpack: This area represents one of the dryer portions of our forecast area. I mostly traveled on northerly facing slopes as everything else was crusty and not much fun to ride. So this summary is for northerly facing slopes. The Continental Snowpack here was very evident with a randomly punchy structure in some places. In general there was a weak slab over a weak layer of facets. Sometimes the snowpack felt strong as the snowpack was supportive, and other times you would punch through the slab and into the weak facets in the lower half of the snowpack. I spent plenty of time finding trigger points and punching into the weak layer with no signs to instability. Still that type of snowpack structure is hard to trust and I looked over my shoulder more than once.

Came across a small slab avalanche that failed within the last 24hrs. Some of the cracks above the crown had been drifted over, but everything else was fairly sharp. NE, 11,950ft SS-N-R1-D1.5-I. The slab was 30cm thick and F+ hard. It released on the 3/18 interface. That interface was a 2cm crust. ECT, CT, and PST tests were inconsistent and not effective given the thin and soft slab. Even pulling on the slab in hand pits was difficult to pull a cohesive column of snow off the curst. Slope angle was about 36 at the crown and the slope rolled over steeper below the crown. Of other particular note was how quickly the flanks tapered away. That was either due to the Stauchwall location, or from previous wind-loading. HS was 150cm.

Recent avalanches

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/25/2020
Name: Eric Murrow
Subject: Recent avalanches
Elevation: 8900 – 11400′

Avalanches: Two fresh deeper avalanches in Red Well basin. Both look to be triggered by cornice fall. One slide was present by 10am the other ran sometime after but before 1pm.
Some small Wet Loose avalanche activity noted – mostly pinwheels but a few accumulated mass.
Weather: Mostly cloudy skies and warm temperatures. Winds on a 11,400 ridgetop were light with occasional gusting to 20. High peaks had on and off flagging for much of the day loading onto easterly aspects.

Photos:

3/25 Avalanche obs

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/25/2020
Name: Zach Kinler
Subject: 3/25 Avalanche obs
Aspect: North, North East
Avalanches:

Axtel NE 11,800′ D1.5 Wind Slab
Whetstone NNE 11,800′ D2 Persistent Slab

Weather: Mostly Cloudy skies, Light westerly winds below tree line, temps remained cool in the 30s.

Snowpack: Snowpack at Elkton Study Plot was deepest of the year at 185cm. 3/18 interface is a thick 6 cm crust with 1mm rounding facets on top and is down 35 cm with 4F to 1F slab on top. CT 16 SC, ECTN28(crossed column on taps 29,30). All other interfaces have seen free water in this location.

Wind Slab NE 11,800′ Axtel

Persistent Slab 11,800′ NNE Whetstone