Large wet slab

CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Date of Observation: 05/07/2021
Name: Ian Havlick

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Location: Redwell Basin
Aspect: North East
Elevation: ATL

Avalanches: Large wet slab on ENE facing slope triggered by cornice fall yesterday.


Gothic 7am weather Update

CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Date of Observation: 04/17/2021
Name: billy barr

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Location: Gothic

Weather: Cloudy with light snow overnight with 2″ new and water a light 0.12″ on top of a frozen snowpack. Wind is calm and the snowpack back up to 27″. Currently only a few flakes of snow and clouds look to be thinning with a low of 18ºF after a high yesterday of 38.

One inch on top of one inch is better than no inch on an inch.

CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Date of Observation: 04/16/2021
Name: Kinler, Murrow, Ross

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Location: Axtell
Aspect: North
Elevation: 9,500-11,800ft

Weather: Party Cloudy, calm winds, and a few falling flakes.

Snowpack: Another inch of new snow. Steep due north was still skiing well. A little funk here or there with old crusts. Small skier triggered sluffs in steep terrain. Sticky snow surfaces down low. The previous winds from yesterday and last night made the more alpine features look uninspiring with wind-board or firmer looking snow surfaces. We chose to ski where the snow surface was protected from those winds.

Wet Loosies and even a gouger’

CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Date of Observation: 04/14/2021
Name: Zach Kinler Eric Murrow


Zone: Southeast Mountains
Location: Wolverin Basin, Mount Emmons
Aspect: North, North East, East, North West
Elevation: 8,900′ – 11,400′


Avalanches: Observed two unreported Wet Slabs on a northwesterly aspect below treeline from the big warm up during the first week of April. Intentionally triggered a couple of Wet Loose avalanches on northeast slopes below treeline D1 to D2 in size. The D2 was able to gouge to the ground, low elevation slope at 9,800′.
Weather: About an inch of new overnight. Partly cloudy skies, mild air temps, and light winds with moderate gusts on alpine ridges.
Snowpack: Largely traveled on northerly slopes near and below treeline. Shaded slopes at 10,000′ appeared to have meltwater drain very near basal depth hoar, but depth hoar was still angular with little evidence of meltwater infiltration (see photo). As we climbed higher near treeline meltwater on a northeast slope had only moved down around 20cm from the surface (see photo). Shaded slopes above 9,600′ feet still have structures to produce Wet Slab avalanches once the meltwater faucet gets turned back on later this spring. Surface refreeze below around 11,000′ was pretty superficial with wet snow grains lingering just below the crust. We descended a short east-facing slope near treeline around 130pm and found quality corn skiing without too much concern for wet avalanche activity. Cloud cover and winds seemed to keep sunny slopes at upper elevations cooler and prevented them from getting too wet.



Big Inch

CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Date of Observation: 04/14/2021
Name: Evan Ross and Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Location: Axtell
Aspect: North
Elevation: 9,500-11,900

Avalanches: Easy to manage dry loose avalanches on steep north-facing slopes above 10,500ft.

Weather: Few clouds in the morning and increasing in the afternoon. Light winds where we traveled, could see a few small plumes near the Elk Crest mid day.

Snowpack: The steeper north-facing terrain we skied above 10,500ft had a mostly dry old snow surface with about 1.5″ of new snow on top. The new snow was producing small sluffs that were easy to manage. Below 10,500ft on the lower angled slopes, the snow surface became very sticky and wet. The flatter terrain remained supportable to skis around noon. We didn’t get a good sample of low elevation terrain on steeper slope angles, but one small northerly test slope entrained the top 6″ to 8″ of wet snow after a ski cut.

Final Fireside Chat of the Season! Tuesday, April 13 at 7 p.m.

CBAC Backcountry Notes

Our final Virtual Fireside Chat of the season is this Tuesday.  Dr. Erich Peitzsch, with the U.S.G.S., will be joining us from Glacier National Park, where he has been conducting research on wet avalanches, using drones to study the snowpack, avalanche fatality trends in the U.S., and more.  Join us at 7 p.m. on April 13th at this link:

RECORDING: Passcode: Rzn5Wv$5

Wet slab that ran during last weekend’s wet cycle on Avery Peak.

Off season for avalanches

CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Date of Observation: 04/11/2021
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Location: Mt. Emmons
Aspect: North East, East
Elevation: Below treeline

Avalanches: Skier triggered a couple of shallow wet loose slides in very steep terrain. They didn’t run far or entrain more than the top few inches of mush.
Weather: Another beautiful day. Light winds below treeline. Temps in the 40’s. Clear skies.
Snowpack: Early afternoon tour on suspect below treeline slopes to assess the effects of last night’s warming trend. Ski cut wet sluffs were confined to very steep terrain and are still not entraining volume or gouging deeper than the top few inches. The snowpack is wet throughout with drainage to the ground now well established where we traveled. The snow was supportive to skis but boot pen is thigh deep.



CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Date of Observation: 04/10/2021
Name: Zach Guy and Eric Murrow

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Location: Upper Slate
Aspect: East, South East
Elevation: 9600 to 12500’

Avalanches: Nothing new.
Weather: Clear skies, mild temps, light ridgetop winds.
Snowpack: Nothing noteworthy. Good freeze overnight, surfaces started softening mid morning on easterly aspects. The top few inches were soft by noon. Found a few very steep or rocky terrain features late morning where the snowpack was weaker and mushier but ski cuts couldn’t get any wet sluffs moving. Snow now has dust on the surface and has developed some sun textures and runnels on sunnier aspects.