Late April pow day with natural and triggered avalanches

CBAC CBAC Observations

Date of Observation: 04/23/2022
Name: Eric Murrow

Zone: Northwest Mountains & Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Ski tour Mount Axtel in Second Bowl in the morning and pavement avalanche obs in the evening.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Easily skier-triggered several loose avalanches in the storm snow on Axtel in sheltered terrain. While driving around in the evening I observed evidence of numerous avalanches on Gothic Mountain’s east bowl (most looked to be loose avalanches but a couple below ridge top may have been Wind Slabs – poor vis). Two small Wind Slabs on drifted alpine terrain on Whetstone. Visibility never allowed for good avalanche observations in drifted terrain other than on Axtel, Whetstone, and Emmons.
Weather: Light snowfall and moderate winds on Axtel in the AM with 11″ storm snow at 11am. Periods of broken skies around Crested Butte throughout the day with clearing skies above town around sunset. The Ruby Range remained obscured all day.
Snowpack: While touring on Axtel, I found a storm density change in the middle of the storm snow that took moderate force to fail in Shovel Tilt Tests; no cracking in sheltered terrain just easily triggered loose avalanches up to D1.5. Bonding between the new snow and the old crust was good in the sheltered terrain I traveled through. I stomped on a few small drifts, up to 16 inches deep, near treeline on Axtel and was able to produce ski-length cracking.
Later in the day at 2pm, I poked into some north-facing slopes near town at 9,000′ and found 7 inches of storm snow that was moist and sticky throughout from the mild air temps at low elevations.

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