Ongoing naturals, Washington Gulch

CBAC CBAC Observations

Date of Observation: 02/25/2022
Name: Zach Guy and Zach Kinler

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Snowmobiled Washington Gulch, skied in Rock Creek area. Traveled on low slope angles on east, south, and west aspects to 11,500 ft.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Where to start…. Extensive slab activity on almost every steep bit of E and NE terrain from Meridian Lake to Elkton Knob. A lot of this was previously documented in obs from Eric and Billy. However, I counted at least 3 or 4 slides that looked fresh, likely ran last night or yesterday from wind drifting. These were on E to NE aspects NTL, ~D2 in size. Same story in Rock Creek: extensive activity near and below treeline on E to N aspects. The SE bowl above Rock Creek also ran mid-storm; crown was blown back in but we could see D2 debris. We also got a late afternoon peak of the Ruby Range in poor light and saw a number of large crowns, D2.5 on average, some looked quite fresh. Kinler will submit those in a separate ob.
Weather: Cold temps. We observed periods of light to moderate drifting in the alpine from westerly winds. Clouds decreased through the day.
Snowpack: Measured 65 cm slab in a sheltered, BTL location in Rock Creek. Almost every time I rode into an open slope in Wash Gulch I saw extensive shooting cracks under my sled, some ran several hundred feet. Signs of instability became infrequent as we transitioned to skis near treeline; slabs are stiffer from wind effects and I think we were also traveling in an area where winds had beat up the weak layer. Once we descended to treeline, rumbling collapses became frequent again. In some cases, it was the 2nd or 3rd person to cross the slope that would trigger the collapse.