Date of Observation: 03/04/2017
Name: Chris Pruden
Aspect: North East
Avalanches: At 9600 on the Gothic Road (about 1/2 mile from the trailhead). We saw a recent R3 D1 slab avalanche that had released naturally on the steep NE facing road cut. The slope angle of the terrain was about 40 degrees. Active wind loading seemed to be the trigger. (Edit: Snowcat Triggered)
Weather: Scattered clouds and some gusty winds throughout the day, especially near the Snodgrass trailhead. We saw some blowing snow in these more exposed areas. Air temp around 40 degrees F at 1PM. No precip.
Snowpack: Dug in the snow at 9460 on a 29 degree NNE slope. Found a thick and distinct crust layer at around 50 cm down with some variable (but overall soft) layers above. Below the crust was a layer of sugary facets but quickly transitioned to more consolidated snow below that. A compression test revealed an easy (3 taps), sudden, and planar fracture at 30 cm down. An ECT showed full and planar propagation on 3 taps at the same layer. These results occurred on buried near-surface facets (1cm). Touring off the road revealed some localized collapsing around skis but nothing shooting across terrain and no loud whumping.