Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 03/12/2020
Name: Evan Ross
Subject: Nice Creamy Conditions
Aspect: North East, East, South, West
Avalanches: Good views across the Ruby Range from upper Slate and Washington Gulch with nothing more than a few roller balls or a couple small loose wet avalanches noticed.
Weather: Overcast in the morning, decreasing to party cloudy in the afternoon. Another warm day with light winds.
Snowpack: Traveled through a bunch of different aspects and elevations with know real issues encountered. At upper elevations, there was 10″ snow that has accumulated this week. That snow was a lovely creamy sustenance that was fast and carvey. This new snow was thick enough that loose dry avalanches were not a problem. Simple hand shears were inconsistent and all in all stability was good. Got on a couple of smaller wind-loaded terrain features without any results, but didn’t make it to the highest ridgelines along the Ruby Range. Upper elevations southerly slopes had the same 10″ of thick cold new snow. At 3pm around those upper elevations southeast slopes were still nice and creamy, while straight south was a little thicker but not moist.
This weeks snow accumulations decreased with elevation. Northeasterly slopes, down to the lowest point I traveled on that aspect at 9,500, had the same thick and creamy good snow. No avalanche concerns were found. Easterly slopes warmed a bit with rising temperatures, but otherwise didn’t get much sun thanks to the AM clouds. Mid to lower elevation southerly slopes held onto intact old crusts, with variable punching through the snowpack near thin areas. Resent snow has been zapped down into the old crusts and there wasn’t much snow available for loose wet concerns. Where the old crusts did break down and the snowpack was unsportive, if something got moving some how then it could gouge into that wet snowpack becoming large in size. Just barley touched some westerly near treeline at the end of the day with no real concerns to report.
The best place to trigger an avalanche I suspect, would have been somewhere very steep with a thin and punchy snowpack. Or late in the afternoon at mid to upper elevation southwesterly facing slopes that had some recent snow that was becoming wet and could Loose Wet Avalanche on the old crusts. While avalanche concerns were not necessarily encountered on this tour, paying attention to heightened avalanche conditions for warming snow in the afternoon felt spot on. Definitely some interesting weather with all the warm temps and last nights drizzle of rain.