Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 04/17/2020
Name: Evan Ross
Subject: Far Western Portion Of Paradise Divide Area
Aspect: North, East, South
Avalanches: Plenty of Wind Slabs form yesterday’s cycle to be viewed. Call it 20 or so. Vast majority were D1 to D1.5. 2″ to 5″ crowns. A few D2’s with crowns up to around 20″ thick. Most crowns didn’t propagate widely across the majority of the start zone, while a few of the larger ones had some good propagation. There is still something to be said for a propagating 2″ slab. North to east to south near and above treeline covered the majority of the activity, I didn’t see anything on west.
Weather: Beautifully day. Few clouds and the winds in the alpine remained calm to light.
Snowpack: Yesterday’s wind event did a better job then I expected, of pressing the snow into terrain versus stripping it back to the old snow surface. Some slopes were of course blown back to the old snow surface, most had at least 2 inches, to 2 feet of new snow on them. Maybe 18″ of new snow in this snow favored area, but it feels silly to give a number with all the variability out there.
The facets and soft crusts around the old snow surface were something to keep in mind. We chose to ski some wind-loaded terrain and avoid others. So the assessment portion was there. No obvious signs of instability. The new snow was either very light, thin with a little cohesion, or thick and set up.
The northerly slopes in the alpine stayed dry. While many others were feeling the effects of the strong April sun. I suspect that many of those sunny slopes with thin slabs will be crusty tomorrow.
Regarding wet snow avalanches, we spent most of our day at upper elevations. The thick or wind pressed snow seemed to limit loose wet avalanches as the recent snow transitioned today. Rollerballs and a couple loose wet avalanches were observed mainly below about 11,000ft.