Dry north, swampy south on Baldy

CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Date of Observation: 03/06/2021
Name: Eric Murrow Jared Berman


Zone: Northwest Mountains
Location: Baldy south side and northwest side
Aspect: East, South East, South, South West, West, North West
Elevation: 9,400′ – 12,400′


Avalanches: Observed a healthy number of small D1 loose avalanches from Friday throughout Ruby Range (most originated from steep rocky areas with some degree of southerly tilt), but did not notice any fresh avalanches today. Returned to town at dark, so was unable to look around the range from the pavement with binos.
Weather: Thin high cloud cover, very warm temperatures, and generally light winds 5 -15mph above treeline.
Snowpack: Ascended southerly-facing terrain that had soft, slightly moist surfaces up through 12k by noon. Descended down through northwesterly terrain near treeline and found surprisingly soft surface conditions. Ascended back up through said NW near treeline terrain and probing revealed HS between 120cm and 220cm. We dug a test profile at a site with HS of 150cm and found around 115cm slab resting over weak Depth Hoar at ground (4finger- hardness) – ECTX and PST 52/110 END. Here there are two layers of concern, basal depth hoar and weak near-surface facets buried by 20cm of recent snow.

Late in the day we traveled over E, SE, S, and SW slopes near treeline and found wet snow conditions. On a SE slope at 11,600′, with HS of 135cm, meltwater has percolated about 75cm down.  A weak facet/crust layer just above ground has yet to see water infiltration. I would anticipate liquid water to reach the ground at this site within the next two days if forecasted temperatures verify Sunday and Monday. One SW feature at 10,800′ had trenchy, wet conditions as we skied over with a dramatic increase in ski pen around 10-12 inches.