Remote Trigger, Relentless NW winds

CB Avalanche Center 2018-19 Observations

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 01/26/2019
Name: Joey Carpenter

Subject: Remote Trigger, Relentless NW winds
Aspect: South, South West, West
Elevation: 9600-11900


ESE aspect initiating at 11.8k. This was a heavily windloaded slope. We were intentionally staying connected to this terrain feature (on the low angle ridgeline) and searching for shallow spots in the spx as we ascended since we knew the adjacent slopes were suspect. We got a small collapse at 11.7k (noted above) and didn’t think it propagated very far. However, as we ascended ~100 feet more, we saw the fresh debris pile of our remote trigger. This was an R1D2 slide that remote triggered from approximately 200 linear feet away around a terrain feature. The steepest part of the crown was on an approximated 37 degree slope. The crown did prop onto much lower angle terrain though. The slide was approximately 450 feet wide and ran 300 vertical feet. there were chunks of debris approximately 4x4x4ft at their largest. We did not inspect the bed surface as there was substantial hang fire above and we were unable to safely approach the crown.

Weather: Temperatures remained cold, very comfortable hiking temperatures. Sustained NW winds transported snow from high and mid elevation ridges throughout the day. Above 11k the western ridges are becoming scoured. Substantial wind effect on multiple aspects and elevations. The western part of the forecast area maintained clouds throughout our tour and they became thinner and less pronounced as you moved east across the zones. Solar intensity approached moderate for a few short periods during the day. However, cool temps and sustained winds kept snow surfaces cold.

Snowpack: We had two notable collapses on our tour. One at 11.1k on a 25 degree SSW facing slope while skinning, medium sized. Snowpack depth on this windloaded terrain feature was an average of 175cm. Did not dig to find the failure layer. The other collapse was at 11.7k on a S facing aspect and remotely triggered the avalanche described below.