Schuylkill Ridge

CB Avalanche Center 2015-16 Observations

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 01/15/2016
Name: Zach Guy and Brian Lazar
Subject: Schuylkill Ridge
Aspect: North East, East
Elevation: 9,200-11,300

Avalanches: On a NE aspect NTL, we kicked a small cornice that triggered a loose snow avalanche gouging into old facet layers and ran 1,100 vertical feet. Given the gulley feature it ran through, the slide could have injured or buried someone. L-AC-R1-D1.5-O. No other avalanche activity observed.
Weather: Overcast decreased to broken skies. S-1 snowfall in the morning. Moderate SW ridgetop winds, with light snow transport. Plumes from NW winds observed on Mt. Emmons as we left the trailhead in the afternoon.
Snowpack: 5 cm of storm snow over a widespread near surface facet layer. Minimal wind affect below leeward ridgelines, with drifts 10-15 cm. New snow was noticeably more wind affected mid to lower on the slope from cross-loading down valley winds. Observed drifts up 25cm thick with cracking up to 10 feet on steep rollovers, but no avalanches. HS in old refilling avalanche paths was 50-80cm. More a like 120-150 in areas that didn’t avalanches, but there weren’t many paths in this area that didn’t run. Most of the terrain avalanched during Xmas cycle leaving only weak snow 50-80 cm and almost entirely facets, with 5cm of new snow on top. Just below ridgelines the drifts the suspected wind slabs avalanche problem was not there. Suspect there are stiffer wind-drifted slabs near Kebler that got more snow to move, and also up ATL where winds were stronger.

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NE aspect near treeline on Schuykill Ridge. The red oval indicates areas we thought we would find developing wind-drifted slabs, but there was little wind affect up near ridgeline.   Surprisingly more wind affect closer to valley floor from down valley crossloading.

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Looking into the narrow gulley where a Loose Dry avalanche plunnged 1200 feet. Schuylkill Ridge 1.15.16