Return of winter

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 04/13/2020
Name: Steve Banks
Subject: Return of winter
Aspect: North, North East, East
Elevation: 9800-11800

None observed and minimal signs of instability.

Weather: Cold, grey and windy. Overcast all day with fleeting sun spots here and there. East winds in the valley proved to be westerly at higher elevations. Cold, dry snow was still moving around. Some flurries midday did not accumulate to much.

Snowpack: 4-7” of new snow on a mixed bag of firm melt freeze, breakable sun crusts and older faceted snow. New snow seemed to be bonding well, but stiffer windslabs were found on Easterly tilted terrain. Snow is being redistributed by wind and is scoured to old crusts in some areas.

Evan’s Basin to Scarp Ridge

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte area/Kebler Pass area
Date of Observation: 04/13/2020
Name: Zach Kinler
Subject: Evan’s Basin to Scarp Ridge
Aspect: North East, East, South East, South
Elevation: 9,600′-12,200′

Observed a few old Wet Loose, one that triggered a D1.5 wet slab avalanche in Elk Basin on an east aspect around 11,200′. Likely ran during last week’s heatwave.

Weather: Mostly Cloudy skies with low-level clouds and flurries moving in around 13:00. Temps remained well below freezing with strong westerly winds making it feel like mid-winter again. Sun was surprisingly warm in the brief breaks in clouds.

Snowpack: 4-5″ of settled snow from the recent storm. Thin surface crusts from yesterday’s heating were present on aspects from E-S to just below 12,000′. Crusts below the recent cycle were 6-10″ thick and fully supportable to ski and boot. Near treeline drifts of 1-2 feet were observed on and just below ridgeline. Little to no cracking or instabilities were observed as these drifts tapered quickly downslope. Only minor drifting was still occurring with stronger gusts.

Moving just above tree line and the drifting was more consistent throughout the snow-favored areas around the Ruby Range with larger, open fetches still providing some snow. With consistent winds blowing for more than 24 hours, small Cornices of new snow have began to build at upper elevations as well as stiffer wind slabs. Minor cracking was seen in the upper few inches of stiffest snow with slightly softer drifted snow beneath.

Easter Ski

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 04/12/2020
Name: Steve
Subject: Easter Ski
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 9500-11800

None observed and no signs of instability beyond wind transported snow at higher elevations.

Weather: Mostly sunny with cool temps remaining below freezing. Gusty winds from the west moving a lot of snow at ridgetop.

Snowpack: 5-6” of new snow seemed well bonded to the old crust. Freeze did not seem to go super deep, but snow is supportive. Solar affect become dramatic toward the afternoon with moist to wet snow. Thick new snow with scratchy surfaces underneath.


Washington Gulch/Baldy

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 04/12/2020
Name: Zach Kinler and Eric Murrow
Aspect: North East, East, South East, South, South West, West
Elevation: 9,600′-12,500′

D1.5 Wind Slab on an east aspect above tree line on Afley Peak
Observed a D1.5 wind slab on a NE aspect at 11,800′, previously reported in another ob.
2 very small wind slabs on an east aspect below a small cornice


Weather: Light and variable winds in sheltered areas gave way to gusty westerly winds near ridgelines and on exposed alpine terrain. Mostly Cloudy skies gave way to a bit of sun around 15:00. Temps were noticeably cooler than previous days although not that mid-winter cold.

Snowpack: 6″ HST with lower elevations seeing similar amounts as upper elevations. 3″ MFcr was observed on a West aspect around 9,800. This crust was supportable to ski with a firm boot step breaking through to wet grains below but presents no threat of breaking down in the next couple days with the current cooling trend. Crusts were supportive to ski and boot, around 4-6 inches, as we moved above tree line on slopes facing E-S with avalanche concerns in the new snow only. Strong westerly wind was drifting snow into slabs up to a foot and a half deep on the lee side of the ridge. This stiffened snow was noticeable underfoot and confined to areas on and just under ridgeline producing localized cracking and one collapse. No avalanche concerns were encountered outside of drifted features. Winds continued to drift snow throughout the tour. New snow became moist in sheltered areas on the southern half of the compass below around 11K.

Baxter basin obs

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 04/12/2020
Name: Lawson
Subject: Baxter basin obs
Aspect: North, North East
Elevation: 12k

seen from across valley. happened in between laps, must have been around noon.
see photos in email.

Weather: windy as. snownados all over. Could see heavy snow transport on all the ridge and mtn tops.
broken clouds

Snowpack: 3-4 inches new snow on top of variable crust. some refrozen wet slide debris, some firm ice, some soft crust.


Red Lady Bowl

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 04/12/2020
Name: Ian Havlick
Subject: Red Lady Bowl
Aspect: East, South East, South, South West
Elevation: 9-12000

Avalanches: Possibly one new D1.5 out of 3rd bowl Axtell but marginal visibility prevented confirmation. If it was a fresh slide, it failed as a windslab in this morning’s new snow on leeward SE facing slopes 11,500-12,000. no other reactive slabbiness in new, wind drifted snow in bowl proper or subsequent lower elevation rollers. Maybe early this morning while still cold but radiation and warming has glued new snow and moistened on all aspects and shady areas in terrain traveled.

Weather: scattered clouds, intermittent flurries 10:30-12:30, but bulk of cloudiness staying to west/NW of CB. Moderate westerly wind gusts transporting good amount of snow above treeline.

Snowpack: 6-16″ new snow depending on leeward or windward terrain. The snow seemed to fall right side up and moist, preventing too much transport. Windslabs were growing, but unreactive in terrain traveled midday. New snow was close to rollerball on steeper terrain and may see wet concerns later with more concentrated radiation. Lower elevations became much stickier and wetter than alpine.

Gothic AM snow

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 04/12/2020
Name: Billy
Subject: Gothic AM snow

Weather: Cloudy and mild with snow starting just after midnight, light to moderate overnight with 5″ new and water 0.35″. Little wind during the night but it has started gusting now with 1-4 W but gusts 10 to 15. Overcast with the temp. range from 26 to 29 and 26F now. Snowpack at 39½” after being at 35½” at sunset. New snow is sitting on a hard crust. Last weeks high temp. average was 50ºF so a delightful week. Finally. billy

Cement Creek

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Cement Creek Area
Date of Observation: 04/12/2020
Name: Cosmo
Subject: Cement Creek
Elevation: 9300′

Weather: 30 degrees out this morning. 3.5″ of new snow @ 6:30am.


CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 04/11/2020
Name: ADB
Subject: Axtell-AM
Aspect: East, South East
Elevation: ATL, BTL, NTL

Avalanches: none this morning

Weather: few clouds and light breeze maintaining cooler temperatures throughout the elevation bands and all aspects between 745-1130.

Snowpack: snow was very supportive throughout elevation bands and aspects. snow did not corn up when we dropped in to the hanging bowl between Wang Chung and bowls above Green Lake. Snow facing south of ridge line between Green Lake Drainage and the main Axtell cirque was quite soft and the only soft penetratable snow. Snow was edgable in main bowl we skied on all aspects and almost corn on SE aspects. Snow in cirque below main Axtell bowls was firm but edgable. We saw snowmobiles in both drainages and the snow mobiles didn’t create ruts or penetrate the snow surface.

Cornice Fall Redwell

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 04/10/2020
Subject: Cornice Fall Redwell

There I was, standing on a rock with my wife. We heard thunder…. I grabbed my camera phone, then looked to the sky. It was blue.
Then I looked into Redwell Basin and saw a large cornice had just fallen. P