Mt. Axtell

CB Avalanche Center 2016-17 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 12/13/2016
Name: Zach Guy
Subject: Mt. Axtell
Aspect: North East, South, South West
Elevation: 9,600 -12,000 ft

Avalanches: No recent avalanches observed across all bowls of Mt. Axtell or on northerly aspects of Carbon
Weather: Overcast, light to moderate westerly winds at ridgetop, with minimal snow transport observed.
Snowpack: See photo captions for detailed pit descriptions.
On NE aspects N/ATL. Extended column tests showed propagating results on basal facets/depth hoar, up to a meter deep. Non-propagating results on Dec 6th near surface facet layer, buried mid-pack. We triggered two large collapses on low angle slopes. We did not venture onto any steep terrain at these elevations.
On S/SW aspects N/BTL. The Dec 6th crust/facet layer produced about 5 rolling collapses up to 50+ feet long, but is buried only 6-12″ right now; not much of a slab. Propagating results.
On N/NE aspects BTL, the snowpack felt fairly uniform and soft, becoming progressively weaker with depth but with no distinct or sudden hardness changes. We traveled on several slopes steeper than 35 degrees with no signs of instability.

NE aspect ATL.  3-5 mm depth hoar grains at the bottom of the snowpack.  Difficult to say how continuous this relatively thin layer is across steep slopes due to surface roughness and variability.
NE aspect ATL. ECTX result, but sudden collapse, propagating result with 2 additional hits (ECTP32) on 3-5 mm, fist hard depth hoar, below a ~90 cm, 4F to 1F slab.  Non propagating results on Dec 6th near surface facet layer, about 35 cm deep.
SSW aspect NTL.  ECTP 15, SC below the Dec 6th crust layer (1F, 1 cm thick), over F facets.  30 cm of F to 4F slab above this layer. Rolling collapses observed on this layer, although slab generally felt lacking in these wind protected slopes.
NE aspect NTL.  ECTP 16, SC on 1-2 mm basal facets below a 75 cm slab (F to 4F).  ECTN results on the Dec 6th near surface facet layer (F+) buried about 35 cm deep.