Date of Observation: 12/14/2021
Name: Eric Murrow
Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: West Brush Creek road to skin up Union Chutes. Terrain south of WSC Peak in West Brush drainage, directly across valley from Teocalli.
Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Noticeably less avalanche activity below treeline as compared to Northwest Mountains forecast area. Near treeline produced numerous avalanches on north and northeast aspects directly below ridgeline in wind-drifted areas on shaded aspects.
Weather: Broken skies for much of the day with a pleasant period of Few clouds around 2 pm. Winds were light below treeline and looked to be moderate at ridgetop, but no wind loading was observed.
Snowpack: Small Surface Hoar was present near valley bottom but 100 feet above cold sink Surface Hoar disappeared. Snow surface on shaded aspects near and below treeline was faceted but small-grained (.5mm). Around 11,000 feet and above soft, breaker wind-board appeared across the landscape. I experienced many localized collapses, but just a single, loud moderately sized collapse as I exited a northeast-facing profile site (see attached image) which produced many cracks across the slope. I avoided steep, wind-drifted terrain in the area and stuck to simple, lower-angled options.
Snow depth on sunny slopes in the area was around 35cm and 70cm on shaded slopes. Ski penetration was generally around 6-8 inches and boot penetration was to the ground everywhere.