Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 02/03/2020
Name: Eric Murrow and Evan Ross
Subject: Upper Slate River Valley
Aspect: North, North East, East, South East, South
Elevation: 9000′ – 11350′
Avalanches: none observed
Weather: Snowfall started at about 1130 at the head of Slate River Valley. Accumulations reached about 2″ by 330pm at 9600′. While returning to trailhead at 4pm snowfall intensity ramped up to S2 for a short period presumably about the time of cold front passage. Winds blew 10 to 20 mph with occasional stronger gusts from the southwest. The new snow was easily transported around.
Snowpack: Ascended solar aspects and found substantial melt/freeze crusts on S and SE aspects up through high point at 11350′. Crusts on due south were up to 5cm and fairly hard supportive to skis. Southeast crusts were around 3cm thick. Even east aspects developed thin, soft melt/freeze crusts this past weekend. South and southeast aspects through 11300′ do not look to pose a problem without a major loading event.
Poked around on a northeast-facing slope at 11300 that is susceptible to wind impact and found a snow height a bit over 200cm. Around 30cm deep, there were two interfaces that produced planar results but did not propagate in long column test; failures were on lightly faceted grains. The midpack at this location lacked any concerning interfaces and was quite dense up to pencil hard. Only superficially examined lower snowpack, but no obvious weakness was present while probing.