Gothic Area and Fresh Wind Slabs

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 01/14/2020
Name: Evan Ross
Subject: Gothic Area and Fresh Wind Slabs
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 9,400ft-10,200ft

Avalanches: Couple of fresh wind slabs to D2.5. The spork ran this morning, while the others in the last 12 hours.

Gothic Mountain, The Spork. SE terrain, but the slab pulled from the cross-loaded easterly facing portion of the start zone. This path has run multiple times this winter so it doesn’t have the full seasonal snowpack. Crown estimated to be near a meter deep and releasing around the old snow surface. SS-N-R2-D2.5

Gothic Mountain, East Face. E, 12,500ft. Fresh wind slab that propagated slightly wider lower in the bowl. SS-N-R2-D2.5

Rustlers Gulch, SE, 12,600ft. Estimated D2 slab, but viewed from very far away with little detail.

Weather: Few Clouds, light wind down low with continued snow plums off the high peaks through the day.

Snowpack: Expected to find some concerns with cross-loading, but in the end, no new slab issues were found. Maybe higher in the terrain, there was something more concerning. At 10,000ft on northeasterly facing slopes, faceted grains were down about 18cm. The new snow wasn’t concerning, above the old snow surface from last week. It simply added to the loose snow avalanche potential or could release as a very soft slab in very steep or unsupported terrain. Deeper new snow accumulations or cross-loading at slightly higher elevations could have created more of a slab concern. If SH was present in this snowpack, it was surrounded by other weak faceted grains and not a layer of concern.

HS was in the 90-120cm range. Old persistent slab structure could still be felt lingering in the snowpack. This structure wasn’t making any noise or showing obvious signs of instability. While the majority of the most concerning terrain features in this area had previously avalanched this season with old crowns still visible.