Paradise Divide Zone – Natural Activity

Name: Huck
Title: Paradise Divide Zone – Natural Activity
Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 12/19/2014
Aspect: North, North East, North West
Elevation: 11,500

Avalanches: Observed a number of natural avalanches worth noting. (1) the E/NE facing slope directly above the first switchback on Slate d’Huez looked to be very recent. Looked to be a R4/D3? The crown had some smallish blocks – storm slab likely as opposed to a slough point release. Entrained a lot of snow and ran to within feet of the valley floor. Went very wide. (2) a day-old (at least) small pocket near Purple Ridge pulled out just below the ridge and ran to a prominent bench. (3) a W/NW aspect on Gothic looked like it went too, but we were looking from pretty far away. Looked very similar to (1) above. There were numerous other smaller sloughs and pockets, but these were the 3 biggest of note. The smaller pockets were not going to the ground. None of the terrain we skied showed any signs of instability.

Weather: Weather was light overcast around 10am, changing to clear skies and sunshine by about noon. No wind at 10am, picked up to a tiny little breeze around 1:30pm.

Snowpack: Dug a pit on an unskied N aspect at treeline on a slope in the low 30deg’s. 160cm of total snow. 12″ or so of new snow. Did a test on an isolated column and got a shear at 15 on what we thought was the Thanksgiving layer (I’m not sure on the dates of those storms). Shear was at 100cm. Lots of new snow out there.