Shooting cracks on Baldy

CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Zone: Northwest Mountains

Location: Mt. Baldy: Quigley Creek

Date of Observation: 11/21/2020

Name: Zach Guy

 

Subject: Shooting cracks on Baldy

Aspect: North

Elevation: 9,600 – 11,800′

Avalanches:

Skier triggered several harmless sluffs in the new snow that ran about 400′ on shady aspects. A couple similar naturals on Baldy.

Weather: Bands of convective clouds and showers through the day. A few pulses of very light (S-1) graupel. Overcast to scattered to overcast skies. Light westerly winds, brief periods of light wind drifting off of high peaks.

Snowpack: We went hunting for persistent slab feedback on north-facing terrain near treeline. After several unexciting stability tests and a number of hand pits or surface obs that showed the structure was lacking (missing a slab or missing a weak layer), we had all but given up on finding any good feedback. As we were exiting a steep cut bank above a creek at 10,800′, we got three collapses and shooting cracks up to 75′, failing on the Nov 6 facet layer (2 mm, fist hard). The slopes were easily steep enough to slide, but held in place, perhaps from ground roughness?
No other signs of instability through the day apart from shallow sluffing. 3″ to 5″ of new snow. The snow moistened on southerly aspects, where the storm interface is a 1F melt-freeze crust. At lower elevations, shady aspects, the snowpack is about a foot deep: .5mm moist, rounding facets (F+ to 4F-). Gaining elevation, the snowpack transitions to dry, 4F and more rounded, along with a significant amount of previous wind scouring at upper elevations. See photos and profile.

Photos:

Gothic 7 a.m.

CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Zone: Southeast Mountains

Location: Gothic

Date of Observation: 11/21/2020

Name: billy barr

 

Subject: Gothic 7 a.m.

Aspect:

Elevation:

Avalanches:

Weather:

Snowpack: Cloudy with snow starting after 1 a.m. holding generally light through the dark hours with 3″ new and water a dense 0.29″. No wind and snowpack is at 8″ deep. Currently light to moderate snow, obscured cloud cover, calm and temperature range after midnight 33F to the current 28F. billy

Cement Creek dirtmobile and skin tour

CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Zone: Southeast Mountains

Location: Cement Creek Road to northeast side of Hunters Hill

Date of Observation: 11/19/2020

Name: Eric Murrow

Subject: Cement Creek dirtmobile and skin tour

Aspect: North, North East, East, South East, South, South West, West, North West

Elevation: 9,000′ – 12,000′

Weather: Mild air temps, mostly clear skiers, with light winds that slowly increased into the afternoon.

Snowpack: Traveled through a typically shallow part of the forecast area checking on snow cover, surface conditions, and to perform snowpack tests on drifted, shady terrain feature at upper elevations. Below treeline snow cover is shallow but pretty continuous across all aspects except for a good bit of dirt on due south slopes below 9,500′. Snow surfaces on sunny slopes near and below treeline were moist/wet at the surface and moist to the ground. Crusts have formed extensively on east through south through southwest slopes. Northerly slopes, even at lower elevations, remained dry and have started to facet in protected areas though the grains remain small, around 1mm. HS (snow depth) at the head of Cement Creek was only about 1 foot (30cm) at 11,400′.
Upper elevation northerly slopes were a mix of sastrugi and windboard. Traveled to around 12,000′ looking to find slab resting over weak snow near the ground. Walked across several stiff drifted pockets without signs of instability. Test site produced propagating results on a small drifted feature in old, weak 2mm facets at the ground (ECTP 11, see photo). The ground was very smooth at test site. Additionally, I had to probe this feature to find where the weak layer was present, it was discontinuous during probing and in a portion of my pit wall. Snow surface and slab were very stiff, supportive to boots. 20 feet to either side of my test site the slab tapered down to only 10 inches thick. Visually it was impossible to tell without probing. Nearby start zones immediately below ridgetop looked to have some small, pockets of slab present but they were not connected and very isolated across the terrain. Triggering an avalanche appeared unlikely but not impossible on upper elevation shaded slopes in this area due to the isolated nature of slab and weak layer.

 

Photos:

Cinnamon East Face

CB Avalanche Center 2020-21 Observations

Zone: Northwest Mountains

Location: Cinnamon

Date of Observation: 11/19/2020

Name: Alan bernholtz

Subject: Cinnamon East Face

Aspect: East

Elevation: 12,000′

Avalanches:  Non observed

Weather: Partly cloudy skies, moderate west winds with temps around freezing

Snowpack: A wide variety of surface conditions in addition to a variable snowpack depth was observed. We found wind deposited snow on the surface as well as some D/F grains. The surface of the snow was moist in wind protected areas. There was very little blowing snow on the ridge tops. There was some wind crusts, some sun crusts and some facetted snow that we observed on our ski up and down.
The snowpack varied from 50cm to ground. No signs of instability were observed even on 40 degree pitches.
The road up had wind drifts but was easily manageable on snowmobiles.

Photos:

Mooiiist snow

CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Zone: Northwest Mountains

Location: Mt. Owen

Date of Observation: 11/18/2020

Name: Zach Guy

 

Subject: Mooiiist snow

Aspect: North, North East, East, South East

Elevation: 10,500 – 12,800′

Avalanches:

No recent activity

Weather: Unusually warm temps. Strong SW winds but no snow transport. Scattered clouds.

Snowpack: We found good stability on various aspects. On the southern half of the compass, the snow surface was moist or wet from warm temps, often isothermal through the whole snowpack. Expect a crust of varying thickness going into the weekend. Northerly aspects hold dry snow, a mix of softer sastrugi and wind-packed rounds on the surface. No notable persistent weak layers on the surface at the moment thanks to abusive winds and sun, and a generally a homogenous 4-finger snowpack from surface to ground on all but due north aspects. On a NNE aspect, we found the 11/6 facet layer lurking below 70 cm of slab, but it was discontinuous due to talus on the ground. It did not produce concerning pit results or signs of instabilities. We skied steep terrain on both north and east aspects with no instabilities.

Photos:

Hiding from the Wind

CB Avalanche Center 2020-21 Observations

Zone: Southeast Mountains

Location: Washington Gulch

Date of Observation: 11/14/2020

Name: Cam S

 

Subject: Hiding from the Wind

Aspect: North East

Elevation: Below Treeline

Avalanches:

None observed

Weather: Winds were howling down the valley but nice and calm in the trees. Snowfall stopped by morning but the winds kept up all day long. This is probably news to no one…

Snowpack: Consistently about 50cm HS on low elevation densely treed slopes. As far as I could tell the snow on the ground was all from the previous 7 days. No signs of instability observed.

Kebler Area Sunday

CB Avalanche Center 2020-21 Observations

Zone: Northwest Mountains

Location:

Date of Observation: 11/15/2020

Name: Cam S

 

Subject: Kebler Area Sunday

Aspect: North, North East, North West

Elevation: BTL to NTL

Avalanches:

None observed

Weather: Overcast above the CB mtns all morning. You could peek at some sunshine over Paonia and Gunnison areas. Warm for a November morning. Welcome calm winds after the blustery start to the weekend.

Snowpack: Open slopes had an obvious stiff layer on the surface from Saturday’s winds. I would guess anywhere from 1-4 inches thick. Snow depth was generally 50cm to 100 in isolated freshly wind drifted areas. No signs of instability or avalanches observed EXCEPT some cracking and shlumping whole cutting a steep drifted rollover & a large whoomph on a well established skintrack we had already been traveling on all morning. The whoomph occurred in a shallower N facing area, about 50cm HS, at 11,000 ft. It felt like there was faceted October snow at the ground while probing around with a pole in that spot.

Kebler Pass afternoon obs

CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Location: Kebler Pass to Anthracites ridgeline
Date of Observation: 11/14/2020
Name: Zack Kinler Eric Murrow

Subject: Kebler Pass afternoon obs

Aspect: North, North East, East, South East, West, North West

Elevation: 10,000 to 11,250

Weather: Decreasing cloud cover, no accumulating snowfall, and strong northwest winds afternoon. Air temps noticeably decreased throughout the tour. Blowing snow was common at all elevations; much of the transported snow near and above treeline was blasted into the atmosphere or loaded lower on slopes than usual.

Snowpack: It was difficult to find a good place to measure the new snow, but it was around 10 to 12 inches. Strong northwest winds pounded through much of the open terrain leaving soft, “breaker” wind board mixed in with some pockets of soft snow. Snow surfaces were disturbed by the wind on almost all slopes. Westerly and northwesterly alpine features were largely blown back to ground.

We traveled through BTL and NTL northerly slopes largely looking at the old snow from October. Snow depth was around 60 cm. In this area, NE and N facing slopes had developed a soft crust around an inch thick (~2cm) above the thin layer of weak snow at the ground. Tests did not produce propagating results. We did not experience any significant cracking or collapsing, but we did not travel through any features with significant previous drifting. The weak layer may have been a bit too thin to overcome ground roughness through much of the terrain we looked at.

Crossed a southeasterly slope at 11,200′ and found the new snow sitting on a soft crust around an inch thick.

Photos:

7 am Gothic Weather Update

CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Location: Gothic Townsite
Date of Observation: 11/14/2020
Name: Billy Barr
Subject: 7 am Gothic Weather Update

Weather: Very strong wind overnight with snow starting around midnight and blizzard conditions. Moderate snowfall with 5″ new and water 0.35″ and steady west wind 10-15, gusts into the 30’s. Currently the snowpack is at 10″ with no visibility, strong wind and light snowfall.

Schofield Pass walkabout

CB Avalanche Center 2020-21 Observations

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Location: Schofield Pass / Elko Park – Parked at Rock Slabs before Emerald Lake gorge. Skied Schofield Pass road into Elko Park.
Date of Observation: 11/13/2020
Name: Ben Pritchett

Subject: Schofield Pass walkabout

Aspect: North West

Elevation: Near Treeline

Weather: Ridgeline Wind Speed: 5-10 mph
Ridgeline Wind Direction: W
Wind Loading: None
Temperature: 30 F
Sky Cover: Overcast
Depth of Total Snow: 50 cm
Weather Description: Light snow showers in morning with only a trace of accumulation. The sun returned in the afternoon under partly cloudy skies. Light winds with no transport seen at ridgetops.

Snowpack: Snowpack Description: Went looking at northwest-facing terrain to see if it will be problematic with the next storm. Found many alpine northwest facing slopes wind-scoured back to rock. But near and below treeline I found a layer of weak faceted snow near the ground, similar to what’s present on north and northeast facing terrain. The biggest difference is that on some slopes there’s also a thin melt-freeze crust above the faceted snow that’s worth keeping an eye on as slabs develop this winter. The snowpack on east to south to west facing terrain remains dense, rounded, and supportive to a skier’s weight.

Photos: