Springtime Weather Roller-Coaster

CB Avalanche Center 2019-20 Observations

Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 04/05/2020
Name: Eric Murrow and Zach Kinler
Aspect: North, North East, East, South East, South
Elevation: 9,000′-12,000′

Gibson Ridge ENE 9,700 D1.5 Wet Loose gouging to ground in shallow snowpack
Ohio Peak ENE 12,000′ D2 Cornice fall triggered smaller slab below the ridgeline pulling out another small but deeper slab around cliffs.
Axtel ENE 11,800 D1 Wet Loose
Ruby Peak SE 12,400 Cornice fall entrained surface snow, no slab triggered
Elk Basin SE 11,700 D1 Numerous Wet Loose running from rocky features today or yesterday

Weather: Mostly cloudy skies through midday gave way to Partly Cloudy skies in the afternoon. Warming trend continued although clouds and continued SW winds maintained a cool feel near and above tree line. Freezing level rose above 11K.

Snowpack: Spent the morning on the southern half of the compass near and above tree line monitoring snow surfaces for warming. Moderate SW winds and cloud cover combined to keep surfaces cool where small amounts of dry snow was observed drifting at 12,000′. Similar elevations in more wind-protected areas showed signs of warming with a few small loose wet avalanches observed.

The warmth was felt while moving lower in elevation and into sheltered areas in the afternoon with moist snow on all wind-sheltered aspects. Steep southerlies near and below treeline had a couple inches of wet recent snow on a weak and moist crust from last week which had all but broken down. Triggering a Wet Loose avalanche on these slopes was possible. Northerly aspects had a few inches of moist snow leading to lots of rollerballs and pinwheels.  Roller balls were observed on northeast aspect of Axtel up to 11,900′. Additional warming of these slopes will make triggering Wet Loose avalanches possible.