Location: Crested Butte Area, Washington Gulch
Date of Observation: 12/28/2017
Name: Evan Ross, Avalanche L1 Class
Subject: Persistent Slab structure harder to find but still there
Aspect: North East, East
Searching for the right slopes produced shooting cracks and a collapsing snowpack but slope angles for two low for an avalanche to release.
Weather: Light northwesterly winds at ridgeline. Mostly clear sky.
Snowpack: Still a sensitive and spooky snowpack, but those locations are getting harder to find with each passing day. In this area, below 10,200ft the snowpack was effected by previous down valley winds. Windward features had a thinner snowpack that lacked PS structure. The cross-loaded terrain features that faced more ESE had better slab development but lacked much for weak layers below those slabs. Climbing above 10,200ft on an easterly facing aspect the snowpacks became deeper, partly because the slope was more protected from the wind. With PS structure becoming better developed and more widespread. We quickly transitioned into a snowpack that showed obvious signs to instability with collapsing and shooting cracks. We searched out a more shaded slope with more consistent snow coverage and were able to collapse the entire slope from the nearby trees with a small pocket slumping down hill.
At all elevations we traveled, the PS structure is breaking down as the upper slab has been faceting out.