Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 11/06/2018
Name: Alex R
Subject: Snow/Wx Obs
Aspect: North, North East, East, North West
An avalanche that occurred on Sunday afternoon was still visible today. Located in “College Bowl” on Mt. Baldy, this small slab avalanche started in a rocky outcrop high in the bowl, and stepped down to the facets in the bottom of the snowpack near the top of the path. This avalanche ran roughly 500 feet, R1D1.5, and was still visible even after Sunday’s storm. This avalanche occurred while four separate groups were skiing in the zone. Poor communication between the separate groups was cause for concern, and although no one was caught in the avalanche, it crossed a skin track set less than an hour before the slide, as well as ski tracks from multiple groups.
Weather: Our party of three traveled to the top of Paradise Divide and toured on Northwest through North and East terrain. Strong and gusty winds from the Southwest for the duration of our tour. Partly sunny skies, and mild temps around 30F.
Snowpack: With strong winds generally from the southwest, we noticed substantial wind loading and cross loading on north/northeast ridges and peaks in the Paradise Divide Zone. Wind slabs were actively forming on many terrain features. The depth of new snow from Sunday’s storm ranged from 15-40 cm, with higher amounts deposited in wind loaded areas. Depth of the snowpack was 60-100 cm. Two hasty pits dug on northwest terrain revealed 30-40 cm of facets on the ground, a 2-4 cm crust (from sun/warm snow at the beginning of Sunday’s storm), and 15-40 cm storm snow and storm slab. Two compression tests showed CT13 and CT20, with the failure on the crust/storm slab interface. East facing slopes did to have a faceted structure at the bottom of the snowpack due to the lack of snow prior to Sunday’s storm. East slopes were beginning to be affected by solar radiation and the storm snow was warming. Our party stuck to low angle manageable terrain and found creamy turns on both aspects.