Gothic Road

CB Avalanche Center 2015-16 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 01/31/2016
Name: Evan Ross
Subject: Gothic Road

Avalanches: SS-N-R1/2-D/1.5/2-U. Observed to avalanches failing naturally around 1pm on ENE aspects at 9,300ft. SS-ASc-R2-D2-O, SS-ASc-R1-D1-O, triggered two other slabs on Easterly aspects, one failing over a crust facet crust sandwich on a road cut and the other failing on a thin persistent slab formed in January.
Weather: Snowing lightly all day, mostly S1. No wind and no evidence of wind from last night in the valley bottom.
Snowpack: 13-14″ new overnight in Gothic and about 10-12″ closer to the snodgrass trailhead. Shovel tilt tests would produce failures mid storm on graupel, we never found enough slab in this storm snow to propagate into anything.

Where this storm snow was resting over fist hard weak facets there wasn’t any significant avalanche problem, yet. Where the storm snow was adding weight to older persistent weak layers, they were being overloaded and aiding in propagation. We observed some scary crust facet crust sandwiches on south and sunny east slopes formed during the small mid-January storms. Or decaying thin persistent slabs on other easterly aspects. Both of these oder persistent weak layers aided in propagation and we could easily trigger slabs on road cuts or steep slopes with this snowpack structure.

SS-ASc-R2-D2-O Human triggered D2 slab failing in persistent weak layers formed mid January. 2 other natural slabs that failed around 1pm could be seen further down valley

Small road cut, soft slab was human triggered and failed on a crust facet crust sandwich formed earlier in January.