Quiet on the Elkton Front

CBACCBAC Observations

Date of Observation: 12/29/2022
Name: Eric Murrow

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Washington Gulch to Elkton Knob area.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Visibility was obscured all day, but I did get a view of two natural avalanches off Gothic Mountain. One was reported In Zach ob earlier today. The other was on a near treeline southwest-facing slope; it appeared to break only in the recent storm snow based on depth, D1.5 best guess.
Weather: Mostly cloudy skies, with very light but consistent snowfall through 3pm. Total storm depth through 3pm at 11,000 feet near Elkton was about 22 inches. Westerly winds blew at light speeds with moderate gusts throughout the day. Some snow transport near treeline and modest loading above treeline.
Snowpack: I traveled mostly through near treeline terrain. I experienced no signs of instability underfoot other than some ski-length cracks on drifted easterly terrain. I did not observe any buried surface hoar. The new snow remains dense but relatively soft. In this near treeline terrain, the 12/20 facet layer is capped by a thin windboard from last week’s wind event. A test profile produced no propagating results (see photo). Basal depth hoar remains in the Fist plus or 4 finger minus hardness range. This storm appeared to not quite be enough load to cause widespread natural activity for the ‘snowbelt’ region but, as mentioned above, visibility was obscured.