Schuylkill Ridge

CB Avalanche Center 2016-17 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 01/22/2017
Subject: Schuylkill Ridge
Aspect: North East, South East
Elevation: 9,500-11,400

Avalanches: Noticed several small pockets along the skin track that appeared to have slid naturally within the past 24 hours. These were very soft, storm slabs and were on isolated terrain features. Noticed a slightly larger, potentially skier-triggered soft slab (10-12″ crown) at the first main opening that the skin track traverses that was 20 feet wide and ran approximately 100 vertical feet; entraining enough snow to knock someone over or push them hard against a tree. As we were gaining the ridge on the more south-easterly portion of the climb, a pocket of snow between switchbacks on a slight convexity slumped and moved downslope an inch or so and a crack propogated 10 feet beyond the extent of our kick-turn. We descended the ridge feature at the northern edge of Birthday Bowl and had some sloughing on the buried surface hoar that was channeling deeper into the snowpack but not quite moving as a slab.
Weather: 8AM. Clear skies, little to no wind. A nice window between storm systems.
Snowpack: Still mostly unconsolidated storm snow from Friday. At lower elevations and on sun-exposed aspects, snow seems to be forming a more cohesive slab. At higher elevations and more shaded aspects 16+” of low-density storm snow is not bonding with the buried surface hoar. Seems like with a little more time, wind and/or snow load we will have some pretty touchy conditions.