Reactive pockets

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 11/04/2018
Name: Andrew Butterfield

Subject: Reactive pockets
Aspect: North East, East
Elevation: 12,500

Avalanches:

Plenty of sign of recent activity . Old debree piles were visible and felt on up-track. No concern until about 12,000′, after which we started experiencing some collapsing and cracking on wind-loaded pockets. Visibility was short, at times, and at one point I punched through a wind-loaded pocket (not visible at the time,) next to an old bed surface and caused a BIG collapse…probably enough snow to take somebody for a painful ride. Winds have been wreaking havok up there and certainly can present a big safety concern. With the new snow and wind, I imagine it may get worse. It’s early but please be advised to travel safely and be be weary of leeward slopes, as they are becoming reactive to ski-travel.

Weather: Gusty and variable wind.. 10-20 mph, mainly out of the west but variable direction and speed. Sun and cloud mix, periods of snow.
Snowpack: Roughly 2′ to ground, in the lower gully. In the alpine, closer to 3′. Probably an underestimated amount of snow from the night of 11/2-11/3 in the zone. We found pockets of fresh, drifted snow of up to 12″ on our tour today. Also, it snowed and “blowed” hard today (in periods) to contibute to the complexity.

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