Red Lady Crown Investigation

CB Avalanche Center 2016-17 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 12/20/2016
Name: Zach Guy and Scott Krankala
Subject: Red Lady Crown Investigation
Aspect: South East
Elevation: 12,200 ft

Avalanches: Investigated the skier triggered persistent slab avalanche in Red Lady Bowl, triggered 12/18/16 at approximately 3:30 pm.   The slab was mostly all 1F in hardness, or a hard slab. The avalanche was unintentionally triggered by skier, from what appeared to be a shallow, rocky part of the slope. The crown on the skier’s right side ranged from 200 cm to 30 cm in height, averaging approximately 150 cm. We did not go to the crown on the skier’s left side, but it appeared to average about 100 cm in thickness. Based on Google Earth measurements, the skier’s right crown is 200 feet wide and the skier’s left crown is 1,500 feet wide. The debris ran 3,600 feet and a vertical fall of 1,500 feet. The avalanche was medium relative to its potential extent. The debris snapped numerous small to medium sized trees in the runout, and was large enough destroy a car.   It failed in old, faceted snow and ran on the ground. The avalanche is classified as HS-ASu-R3-D3-O/G
Snowpack: Our crown profile was 142 cm deep. The failure layer is 2 – 2.5 mm facets/rounding facets at the ground, F+ in hardness. The slab at that location is 132 cm, mostly all .2 to .3mm 1F rounds. We did not identify a crust layer at this particular spot.

Failure layer was a weak, old layer of facets and rounding facets. F+ hard, 2 – 2.5 mm in size.

The track of the skier who triggered the slide is on the lookers right side.

Extent of debris.

Looking northeast across the bowl.

The crown was up to 6 feet deep.

Looking down the slide path from the crown.

Looking up at the crown. Person for scale.

Crown profile.


More photos courtesy of Ben Pritchett