Purple Palace Instabilities

CB Avalanche Center 2016-17 Observations

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 12/11/2016
Name: Nick Hill
Subject: Purple Palace Instabilities
Aspect: East
Elevation: 9700

Avalanches:
Weather: Snowing intermittently (graupelly), moderate NW winds blowing down valley. Warm.
Snowpack: Lots of whoomping and settling as we began up the steep start to the skin track (100 ft above road). Localized cracking within a few feet of our skis. Most prominent instabilities on a mid pack facet layer (roughly 45cm deep), failed ECT17 Q1 consistently here. The slab above this weak layer did not typically seem cohesive enough to form large slabs, but we suspected isolated pockets may be ready to trigger. This weak layer could become worrysome as the snow above it strengthens.

Also noticed occasional isolated breaks at the storm snow interface where wind loading had formed slabs.

Suspect a successful tour could have been had with proper navigation today, but the instabilities spooked us, especially while navigating unfamiliar terrain. We opted to head home.