Fluff in the Ruby Range

CBAC CBAC Observations

Date of Observation: 01/26/2022
Name: Zach Guy and Jack Caprio

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Traveled on various aspects on Mt. Owen and Mt. Afley near and above treeline

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Ski triggered a handful of very thin wind slabs in a high elevation, northwest facing gulley. The slabs were 5 to 8 ft wide and a few inches thick. One entrained enough soft snow to knock someone over. Traveled through Silver Basin where there was long-running debris from ~3 very large avalanches that likely ran during the New Year’s Eve cycle. All three slides ran far into their runouts but didn’t appear to expand trim lines.
Weather: Cold temps, clear skies above an inversion cloud which burned off by late morning. Winds were blowing about 15 mph out of the northwest near summits, causing some light blowing snow.
Snowpack: 2″ or 3″ of very low density new snow. We rode on steep terrain on various aspects without signs of instability apart from some very thin pockets of wind slab near ridgetop. We traveled across several windward slopes near and above treeline (NW, W, and SW facing). The snowpack there is shallow and pretty weak. The snowpack is faceted throughout; you can easily sink a ski pole to the ground on all but the most heavily crossloaded features. Last Friday’s snow (1/25 interface) has faceted on most aspects (.5 mm, fist) or melted into a soft crust on southerly aspects. The 1/21 interface changes from a thick crust capping facets to a thin crust surrounded by facets to just weak facets as you move from SW to W aspects (see photo).