Got a faceshot! …when the winds blew facets in my face.

CBAC CBAC Observations

Date of Observation: 02/08/2022
Name: Zach Guy and Eric Murrow

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Snowmobiled to West Brush Creek wilderness boundary, and toured into a couple of the upper basins, up to 13000 ft on various aspects.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Came across a pair of small but hard wind slabs that likely ran during the last wind event along with a few recent natural sluffs.  Also intentionally triggered a very thin wind slab BTL that was a couple inches thick, but was about 100 feet wide.  It was harmless to anything bigger than a mouse, but it highlights how tender the current surfaces will be once they get buried by real snowfall.
Weather: Clear skies. Light to moderate northwesterly winds. Minimal transport. If you timed your ski turns with a gust, you could get sprayed by granular facets in the face, which isn’t as sweet as it sounds, but still nice to get a faceshot during these dire times.
Snowpack: We traveled primarily in steep alpine terrain with no signs of instability. Near valley bottoms, we got a few localized collapses or cracks that were a few inches thick, caused by recent drifting over the widespread faceted weak layer.
Winds have beat up the snow surface above treeline terrain and loose dry avalanches were not a concern here. We skirted around one firm-looking drift that looked like it could knock you down. On the same note, there were relatively fewer concerns for sluffs near treeline here compared to some of the more wind-protected slopes where I’ve traveled recently in the Slate or OBJ drainages.