Cascade

CB Avalanche Center 2017-18 Observations

Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 01/23/2018
Name: Ben Pritchett

Subject: Cascade
Aspect: East, South East, South
Elevation: 9,600′-11,400′

Avalanches:

One SS-N-R1-D1-O on a steep southeast bulge.

Weather: Cool clear day. Light Northwest winds produced light blowing snow above 12,000′.
Snowpack: Snow surfaces stayed dry on all but the sunniest steep solar collector type features. Creamy settled snow surfaces where the 1/20 snow remained in place. The wind had scoured some slopes back to the mid January sun crusts, but for the most part, surfaces remained soft.
Dug in an alpine’ish 11,000′ site on a steep due South aspect with an HS of 90 and found a very strong snowpack, with old percolation tubes between each of the 3 prominent buried crusts. The faceted “weak layers” between the crusts were at least 1-finger hard and sintering. This snowpack would hold a great deal of water before failing on due South.
However, transition just a little around the corner to southeast and the picture is less rosy. Southeast held much thinner crusts with weaker 4-finger facets between. This snowpack could fail at the 1/20 interface or even near the ground with 1-2″ of water respectively. It will be worth keeping in mind these crust face sandwiches on the southeast aspects when more snow arrives.
At the moment, there was no avalanche problem observed on these aspects. The wind lips (mini cornices) formed this past weekend were unreactive, with a strong bond at the 1/20 interface.

Photos:

Baxter Basin w/ plenty of evidence of recent drifting

Profile on a South aspect, 11,000′, strong snowpack at this site, but much weaker as you transition to Southeast.

only minor cracking and no collapsing showing good bonds at the 1/20 interface

~3 day old wind slab avalanche