Shallow Slab Avalanche on Mt. Baldy

CB Avalanche Center 2017-18 Observations

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 11/06/2017
Name: Anonymous
Subject: Shallow Slab Avalanche on Mt. Baldy
Aspect: North West
Elevation: 11,400

Avalanches: At 1:45 PM I triggered a shallow but wide (70m+) slab avalanche while skiing alone on the NW aspect of Mt. Baldy. I was alone because I was really just out for a tour on the roads. But I had bootpacked up to Baldy’s West ridge for the exercise, in very shallow snow/talus, and I was planning to sideslip back down a trough and then do a descending traverse back to the road. As I traversed out of the trough onto an open slope of about 25 degrees, I heard the snow wumph then immediately saw cracks form above and all around me. Before I could do anything, a wide swath of the slope cut loose and slid, with me approximately in the middle. I was still on my feet, so I skied with it, heading down but slightly across it for about 20 meters before I reached stable snow. Luckily the slide was relatively slow and shallow (4-6″), with no trees, rocks, or obstacles in its path. It slid for about 50-60 meters before stopping.
Weather: strong, gusty winds from the southwest, blowing snow, occasional snow showers
Snowpack: 6-10″ windblown surface with some softer snow in troughs