CB Avalanche Center 2016-17 Observations

Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 03/14/2017
Name: Ian Havlick
Subject: Axtell
Aspect: North, North East
Elevation: 10-12,000

Avalanches: no signs of instability, though, did feel a random, unlikely, dense chunk of windslab from 2/28 could be pried out on a crash, hard ski, or sidehilling.
Weather: clear, scattered high cirrus at sunrise. Light west winds. Solid freeze, temps in teens
Snowpack: Solid freeze overnight. snow surfaces on terrain skied (steep, north-northeasterly) mix of dry, faceted surface snow, rock hard windboard and frozen melt/freeze crusts at lower northerly elevations. no significant wind transport observed.


Mt Emmons

CB Avalanche Center 2016-17 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/14/2017
Name: Evan Ross
Subject: Mt Emmons
Aspect: South East
Elevation: 9,000-12,300

Weather: Clear sky, light winds at ridgeline.
Snowpack: Around 12000ft only the upper 3″ was moist at 1pm. Sitting over firmer crusty snow below in one hand pit. 40+ degree slopes may have produced small wet loose. Below 11,500ft’ish the upper snowpack had made the full spring transition and was staying firm under the wet snow. The last southeasterly pitch around 9800ft was becoming unsupportive to skis at 2pm and probably would have been fully unsupportive to boots.

Stayed locked up on the south

CB Avalanche Center 2016-17 Observations

Location: Brush Creek Area
Date of Observation: 03/12/2017
Subject: Stayed locked up on the south
Aspect: South
Elevation: 12,000-14,000

Weather: Clear skys in the morning became overcast by 9am. Those clouds started thinning around 1pm. Strong northwesterly wind gusts at ridgeline.
Snowpack: Southerly aspects mostly stayed locked up. Below 12,000 feet the snow surface softened in the afternoon. Above 13,000ft the surface crusts where supportive but only about 5cm’s thick and capping faceted snow or layers of crust facets below. Yesterdays snow was blow in up to an 1″ in spots. No avalanche concerned observed.

Irwin Guides

CB Avalanche Center 2016-17 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/12/2017
Name: Will Nunez
Subject: Irwin Guides
Aspect: North, East, South, West
Elevation: 9,000-10,200ft

Avalanches: Small wet slab on SE aspect.
Weather: Overcast, light winds out of the NW with periods of light snowfall in the AM. Overcast with a strong solar greenhouse affect, Light to moderate winds out of NW in the PM. Temps ranged in the high 30F.
Snowpack: whomping and collapsing were felt BTL but no moment was seen. A few hand sheers revealed a crust grauple layer with inconsistent sheer qualities 4F near the interface. HS was around 200cm with surface snow warming and producing roller balls and hot powder on NE aspects. SW aspect received a fair bit of solar gain as well even with overcast ski and wind with surfaced became great corn skiing. No other instability where observed.

Maroon hut Gothic region

CB Avalanche Center 2016-17 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/12/2017
Name: Ross
Subject: Maroon hut Gothic region
Aspect: North, North East, South, West
Elevation: 9500-10700

Weather: A mix of clear skies to overcast S1
Snowpack: Mixed bag out there with a snow pack that wants to turn to spring but the weather just won’t let it.
!st day tour 3 /11, into Virginia basin, warming temps and according to Billy ( the gothic legend ) temps went to 52 f at almost a record, with a pit dug on a West aspect at 1080 ft. CTM 14 SP Q1 down 40cm was our main concern. Its out there! ECT test did not produce any results, ECTX .
Skied the south shot into Copper Ck and dug another pit on a S aspect at 10,000ft no results from either a CT to ECT. No other activity seen from the days outing. Moist snow on the S other aspects and the corn harvest had begun.
3/12 .Put a halt to the corn harvest. Tour day we decided to squeeze out the last of the Snodgrass powder. dug a pit at 10,700 on a NE aspect CTH21, ECTN21 40cm down.
There seems to be a problem child that is being spanked into submission, its out there but harder to get results.

We were in full tradition mode the last couple of days and it didn’t quite go all the way in the Gothic zone.

Persistant Slab

CB Avalanche Center 2016-17 Observations

Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 03/12/2017
Name: Evan Ross
Subject: Persistant Slab
Aspect: North
Elevation: 9,900-11,500

Weather: On and off very light snowfall through the mid day. A dusting at best. Light winds in this area. Overcast sky.
Snowpack: North bowl on Carbon had more wind effect then expected. Lots of wind board and scoured areas. The steeper north facing slopes were either wind textured or soft recycled type pow. No obvious sings to instability. Avoided one slope. When the snow was soft, ski pen was about 5-10cm.

At 10,800ft on a 35 degree slope, CTM SP and ECTN15. 35cm decomposing slab over old faceted snow.

At 11,400ft on a 36 degree slope. ECTP 14 and ECTP 22. Both down 45cm on well preserved 1mm NSF. F to 1F decomposing slab as seen in attached picture. Avoided the main steeper slope.


Frozen crusts

CB Avalanche Center 2016-17 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/12/2017
Name: Zach Guy
Subject: Frozen crusts
Aspect: South East, South
Elevation: 9,600-11,000 ft

Avalanches: Bomber snowpack. No signs of instability.
Weather: Overcast in the morning, with breaks in the cloud cover midday. Moderate winds at our elevation, looked stronger up higher. S-1 in the morning.
Snowpack: Thick, supportive crusts remained frozen on southerly aspects. Ski and boot pen are both ~zero. The grains have matured on these slopes and it appears that they can handle a fairly significant warm-up without wet loose or wet slabs concerns. More concerned with the structure on other aspects or maybe higher elevations for next week’s warmup for wet avalanches.

Stubborn Loose Wet Avalanche

CB Avalanche Center 2016-17 Observations

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 03/11/2017
Name: El Duderino
Subject: Stubborn Loose Wet Avalanche
Aspect: North, East, South
Elevation: 9,800-11,700

Avalanches: 2 new (D1, D1.5) off East facing cliffs ~mid-day
a couple of older wet loose
Weather: Warm with hazy high cloud winds gusting moderate to strong. Breeze kept the snow from getting too moist/wet
Snowpack: N, @ 10,600 Forest, CTN, pried off with shovel at bottom of cut. Failing at well preserved graupel layer (1F, crusty, BRKN)
right side up with increasing hardness as descending, with just one skip back to 4F between 1F layers.
glide cracks developing on East under cliffs in multiple zones, but not on North in adjacent terrain
ski cut produced a stubborn little WL on ~38* that quickly stopped as terrain flattened on overcooked S slope. Steeper, larger, more continuous slope would have been worried.

Shallow wet loose

CB Avalanche Center 2016-17 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/11/2017
Name: Zach Guy
Subject: Shallow wet loose
Aspect: West, North West
Elevation: 9,000-12,000 ft

Avalanches: A few natural and skier triggered shallow wet loose in the afternoon on very steep, sunbaked slopes.
Weather: Calm to light winds, few clouds, warm.
Snowpack: 3-6″ of wet grains over a solid crust, or moistening dry snow on more northerly tilts.

PS structure near ridgeline

CB Avalanche Center 2016-17 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/11/2017
Name: Evan Ross
Subject: PS structure near ridgeline
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 9,000 – 11,300

Weather: Hot baby hot. With calm winds and few clouds.
Snowpack: Not much for any signs of last weeks epic wind storm in Climax area. PS structure at ridegline on a previously wind-loaded terrain feature. CT24 SP down 45cms on old faceted snow with a decomposing slab on top, but still 1f above the week layer. We avoided this terrain feature. Below ridgeline the slab became thiner and more decomposed as the PS structure tapered away.

On a more easterly tilted, steep slope, small loose wet avalanches were easy to trigger. Observed at 9,600ft. Northeasterly facing slopes were still dry at noon.