Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 04/17/2020
Name: Eric Murrow
Subject: Snow favored area slab/weak layer check
Aspect: North East, East, South East
Elevation: 9,400′ – 11,700′
Avalanches: Small avalanche cycle in snow favored areas along the Ruby Range. Slabs were shallow but a few produced some fairly wide propagation.
Gothic , southwest – cross-loaded gully wall
Purple Ridge , east and northeast
Purple Mountain , east
Martini Glass (Richmond), east – mid feature
Baxter Basin, east – mid feature
Mineral Point, east – loose avalanche with some propagation midslope
Schuylkill Ridge, small skier-triggered slab – did not run far and no one caught (per second-hand text message)
Variety of small loose avalanches from steep, rocky sunny features below around 11,000′
Weather: Gorgeous sunny weather with light winds and moderate air temperatures. Did not observe any snow transport between 1030am and 230 pm.
Snowpack: Snow height from the latest storm was around 12″ with 1.1″ SWE at 11,000′ in the Elkton area.
Mild air temperatures and sunny skies were able to moisten snow surfaces on many slopes. SE and E slopes around 12400 became a bit moist by noon. Low elevation terrain on south half of the compass became moist throughout most of the recent storm snow down to the stout old crust from last weekend. Northeast facing slopes up through 11,500′ became slightly moist by 2pm.
Dug a handful of test profiles on NE, E, and SE facing slopes that all had some level of drifting around 11,000′ or a bit above. Test results showed moderate propagating results failing beneath the recent storm snow in a layer of facets that formed during the usually cool weather from earlier in the week. At all test profile sites, I found marginal bonding between this weeks snowfall and the stout crust that was buried last Saturday, 4/11. Felt like steep, drifted features or unsupportive convexities could produce triggered avalanches for the next couple of days. Jumped on a handful of small, steep features without signs of instability but did not try my luck on the most suspect looking spots.