Groundhog’s day can be fun

CBAC 2020-21 Observations

Zone: Northwest Mountains

Location: Upper Slate

Date of Observation: 11/29/2020

Name: Zach Guy


Subject: Groundhog’s day can be fun

Aspect: North, North East

Elevation: 9700-12,200′


No recent avalanches. Spotted a few more small wind slabs from early last week.

Weather: Awesome.

Snowpack: Continuing the hunt for persistent slab feedback and not finding it. Went to a high, northerly bowl that we documented in early November as a potential problem slope with continuous weak layer coverage across the whole bowl. The 11/14 northwest wind event had clearly scoured back most of the slab, evidenced by reverse cornicing on the ridge, some veg poking out mid-bowl, and pole probing. A representative pit photo is attached, showing a shallow snowpack without the structure for a persistent slab. There were a few small lobes of potentially crossloaded slabs in the bowl that we easily avoided. We rode in steep terrain with no signs of instability.
In general, the snowpack here is weathering the decaying process much better than what I observed recently at Coney’s and Snodgrass: previous wind events and/or a deeper warmer snowpack is maintaining a supportive midpack so far. Near surface faceting is still occurring at all elevations. No surface hoar observed here.