Ruby Range traverse

CB Avalanche Center2015-16 Observations

Location: Kebler Pass and Paradise Divide Areas
Date of Observation: 03/13/2016
Name: Zach Guy
Subject: Ruby Range traverse
Aspect: North, North East, East, South East, South, North West
Elevation: 9,600-12,400

Avalanches: Nothing new. No signs of instability today.
Weather: Clear in the a.m. built to broken skies. Light to moderate westerly winds. Warm temps.
Snowpack: Frozen surfaces thawed on E and S aspects, but not saturated enough for wet loose concerns. Went hunting for concerning persistent slab structure on northerly aspects and it was hard to find. Slab thickness over the 3/6 interface increased from ~6″ in the southern end of the Ruby Range, up to 15″ in the northern end. Everywhere that I dug down to the 3/6 interface on northerly, above-treeline slopes I found this slab well-bonded to a firm wind crust. The one wind-protected slope where I expected to find a worrisome structure with NSF had already slid naturally during our last storm. Did not travel on any wind protected near-treeline slopes which seems the most likely place to find the problem still. Below treeline on a north aspect, the slab was moist, ~8″ thick over a 1″ thick friable melt-freeze crust , with dry, 1.5mm facets below. Moderate ECTN failures on these facets. Concerning structure if we see more load. Surfaces for this incoming storm are generally smooth suncrusts/meltfreeze crusts, except for steep slopes below rockbands which are littered with rollerballs or wet loose debris, and north facing slopes which are still holding dry, settled powder.