Date of Observation: 02/14/2017
Name: Zach Guy
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 9,000 – 9,600 ft.
Avalanches: See photos. A number of shallow loose snow avalanches (both dry and wet), skier and natural triggered on southerly aspects, initiated by solar warming. D1 in size, involving just the recent storm snow. One D2 slab avalanche on NE aspect above treeline of Mt. Axtell, probably ran towards the end of the last storm.
Weather: Clear, calm, mild temps.
Snowpack: On NE aspects BTL, we found a drying, refreezing, stabilizing snowpack. See photo.
At 9,000 ft. Water front had advanced 30 cm and had percolated to, pooled, and now refrozen on an interface 55 cm deep (1/19 interface?). The upper 20 cm is now refrozen clusters or dry storm snow, leaving about 10 cm of very wet grains insulated 20-30 cm deep and capped by a refreeze that won’t break down on this shadier aspect.
At 9,600 ft, there were no wet grains remaining in the snowpack; a series of soft melt-freeze crusts in the upper snowpack.
The biggest concern at both of these locations is the thin layer of low density stellar dendrites above the soft melt-freeze crusts at the surface. This layer will quickly facet into our next weak layer over the next few days on shadier aspects where it doesn’t get cooked.