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May. 28, 2022

Wet slabs in the Beckwiths

Date of Observation: 05/28/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Kebler Pass roadside obs

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: 4 large wet slabs on high northerly aspects that likely ran during last week’s warmup
Photos:

5566


May. 26, 2022

A few wet slabs on Gothic from last week’s warmup

Date of Observation: 05/26/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Traveled on N and NE aspects of Gothic Mtn, to 11,900′

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: A couple of large wet slabs on the north side of Gothic ran during last week’s heat wave, along with what looks like a large wet avalanche near Daisy Pass. Also a few wet loose up to D1.5 in Copper Creek.
Traveled over fairly extensive tree damage on a previously undocumented slide presumably from the holiday cycle.
Weather: Sunny, light breeze.
Snowpack: Drainage through the snowpack is well established here, even on northerly aspects. Snow surfaces are old, dusty, and sun-textured, with very thin pockets of white snow from the past storm. Given how mature the surface is, it seems that wet loose concerns are isolated to very steep, rocky slopes. Traveled on a few suspect slopes that were past prime and couldn’t get anything to move, despite shin-deep ski and knee-deep boot pen near shallow rocky areas. Cornices still pose a threat above some slopes.

Photos:

5565


May. 17, 2022

Wet avalanches

Date of Observation: 05/17/2022
Name: Ben Pritchett

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: near Crested Butte

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: May 16 and 17 a cycle of wet avalanches ran that are gouging deeper into the snowpack. These started as loose avalanches, some from cornice collapses, with some gouging out narrow slabs breaking near the ground. Four of them grew large in size.
Weather: several near-record warm days with non-freezing nights. May 14th was the last night with a good freeze above treeline. Notably, at the Butte snotel (10,150′) the last solid valley freeze was May 5th.
Snowpack: Snowpack mostly gone at lower elevations. The snowpack is remarkably dirty and only continuous at upper elevations. The high elevations of the Ruby Range and Paradise Divide area still hold much more snow than other areas.

Photos:

5564


Apr. 24, 2022

Wind slab on Richmond

Date of Observation: 04/24/2022

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Ruby Range

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Natural slab avalanche on SE side of Richmond
Weather:
Snowpack:

Photos:

5563


Apr. 23, 2022

AMR

Date of Observation: 04/23/2022

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Up standard route and eventually over to the PG

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Triggered R2 soft slab wind deposit at the very beginning of ski cut. Propagated father down the chute than expected. Crown was ~18″. Debris traveled about 3/4’s of the full path.
Weather: S1-S3 all day. Internment and moderate winds
Snowpack: 10-18″ of storm snow.

Photos:

5562


Apr. 23, 2022

Late April pow day with natural and triggered avalanches

Date of Observation: 04/23/2022
Name: Eric Murrow

Zone: Northwest Mountains & Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Ski tour Mount Axtel in Second Bowl in the morning and pavement avalanche obs in the evening.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Easily skier-triggered several loose avalanches in the storm snow on Axtel in sheltered terrain. While driving around in the evening I observed evidence of numerous avalanches on Gothic Mountain’s east bowl (most looked to be loose avalanches but a couple below ridge top may have been Wind Slabs – poor vis). Two small Wind Slabs on drifted alpine terrain on Whetstone. Visibility never allowed for good avalanche observations in drifted terrain other than on Axtel, Whetstone, and Emmons.
Weather: Light snowfall and moderate winds on Axtel in the AM with 11″ storm snow at 11am. Periods of broken skies around Crested Butte throughout the day with clearing skies above town around sunset. The Ruby Range remained obscured all day.
Snowpack: While touring on Axtel, I found a storm density change in the middle of the storm snow that took moderate force to fail in Shovel Tilt Tests; no cracking in sheltered terrain just easily triggered loose avalanches up to D1.5. Bonding between the new snow and the old crust was good in the sheltered terrain I traveled through. I stomped on a few small drifts, up to 16 inches deep, near treeline on Axtel and was able to produce ski-length cracking.
Later in the day at 2pm, I poked into some north-facing slopes near town at 9,000′ and found 7 inches of storm snow that was moist and sticky throughout from the mild air temps at low elevations.

Photos:

5561


Apr. 23, 2022

Gothic AM

Date of Observation: 04/23/2022
Name: billy barr

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Gothic Townsite

Observed avalanche activity: No
Weather: Obscured with scattered snow at first then moderate to heavy after midnight with 11″ new and water content 0.86″ The snowpack sits at 48″ after dipping under 35″ late yesterday. Currently light snow with steady wind that carried overnight. Certainly decent surface snow for potential slide activity.

5560


Apr. 15, 2022

It got a little cooked

Date of Observation: 04/15/2022
Name: Evan Ross

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Kebler Pass area. 9,500ft to 12,000ft. Various aspects.

Weather: Overcast in the morning, partly cloudy for a bit mid-day, before increasing again in the late afternoon. W or SE winds are still blowing snow at upper elevations.

Snowpack: At near and below treeline elevations the snow service got moist or wet on north to east aspects. Mostly just roller balls on northerly facing slopes and not sure at what elevation the snow surface stayed dry. East was the most reactive at these elevations with small loose wet avalanche activity. Didn’t travel above treeline, looking into the ruby range you could see some roller balls or small loose snow avalanches on steep southerly facing slopes with rock outcrops. Found wind slabs up to a foot thick, but couldn’t get any notable results. Many things are blown off or just not loaded. The wind slab problem felt isolated and stubborn at NTL elevations.

Photos:

5557


Apr. 14, 2022

Close call on Schuylkill

Date of Observation: 04/14/2022

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Standard uptrack to Birthday Bowl (9,000-11,400ft). Descended the northern-most ridge 200 feet and the cut into the main bowl on a ENE aspect.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Triggered a sluff on a steep rollover (around 11,000ft) that knocked me over and carried me 400ft down the slope. Only the new snow (20-25cm) slid on a very firm (and dirty) crust. D1 in size but entrained a decent amount of snow with the toe of the debris 100cm at the deepest; 40-50 feet wide at the widest point. Relatively slow moving, but it feels quite fast when you are in it. Bumped into a couple of small trees, but fortunately just some bruises on my right leg. Deployed my airbag (almost didn’t bring it) midway down and came to a rest on top of the debris. Feeling thankful to be (mostly) unharmed and processing the poor decisions that led up to the slide. After not seeing much movement in the uppermost turns (on more northerly aspect) let down my guard when entering the more easterly (and steeper) terrain. I could have anticipated the firmer bed surface and continued managing for sluff by skiing across the terrain. The more easterly snow, while still dry and soft, was a bit heavier than what we had initially encountered at the top of the ridge. Luckily it was just a good lesson learned and a pole and a ski lost today. I will carry the lesson with me and I will find the gear when the snow melts.
Weather: Overcast with light W/SW winds. Temps in the upper 20s to low 30s.
Snowpack:

Photos:

5556


Apr. 14, 2022

Wind stiffened surfaces

Date of Observation: 04/14/2022
Name: Eric Murrow

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Slate River corridor to Purple Ridge.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: The light was extremely flat which made it difficult to read the terrain. I did not observe any slab avalanches but could see some dusty (brown), narrow bed surfaces on lee slopes at upper elevations. I suspect most of these were small loose avalanches from the previous day.
Weather: Overcast skies, no precip, and generally light winds with moderate gusts at ridge top. I observed some loading on to easterly aspects up high.  Winds were a bit lighter than expected and fetchs on westerly slopes have become stiff and are running low on transportable snow.
Snowpack: I traveled through mostly open terrain at all elevations and found snow surfaces to be noticeably stiffer than the previous day. Numerous hasty hand pits below treeline produce not concerning behavior. The new snow is well bonded to crusts below however shovel tilt tests continue to produce a planar result near the bottom of the storm snow. It took more force today to get a result in shovel tilt tests. Digging in well drifted leeward feature I was not able to get any notable test results even though there is a clear strong over weak structure present (see image). The most drifted terrain had a stiff surface that was supportive to skis. I was not able to produce any shooting cracks or find signs of instability yet chose to avoid the skiing drifted slopes.

Photos:

5555


Apr. 14, 2022

wendy go home

Date of Observation: 04/14/2022
Name: jeff banks

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Axtell Zone

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Axtell 4th + 5th Bowl, Numerous D1’s failing on the dirty old snow just below the corniced ridgeline.
Started in ~40º Terrain + lost momentum as the slope lessened.
Weather: Cold + Overcast in AM
Wind picked up again in the late AM
Snowpack: BTL: More Dense from the wind than yesterday. Trees had about 30-40% of snow in their branches on N facing slopes.

Stomped off some fresh cornices at treeline on ~30º slopes

Many Aspects held firm surfaces where the dense wind slab sits. Dense over Dense, lacking an obvious weak layer.

5554


Apr. 13, 2022

Sensitive Wind Slabs and pretty darn good skiing!

Date of Observation: 04/13/2022
Name: Eric Murrow

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Slate River Corridor to Pittsburg. Skied into the basin on east side of Schuylkill Peak.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: I observed a few small loose snow avalanches, two slab avalanches in wind-drifted terrain, and skier triggered two small wind slabs near treeline that were 12 to 18 inches deep. Poor visibility limited views into the Ruby Range.
Weather: Overcast skies, cool temperatures, and the constant westerly wind. Occasional light snowfall in the afternoon but no accumulations. During periods of improved visibility, there was a constant stream of blowing snow at upper elevations focusing on the easterly aspects.
Snowpack: At 10,500 feet I measured 12 inches of storm snow with 1.1″ SWE near Schuylkill Peak. In sheltered areas, I found storm snow without slab properties but a storm density change near the bottom of storm snow. Sheltered terrain could produce loose avalanches on very steep terrain. As soon as I found drifted terrain, I was able to produce shooting cracks up to 20 feet and easily triggered two small slabs on leeward rolls in the basin. Leeward features had drifts up to 2 feet thick. The triggered avalanches failed on the density change near the base of the storm snow.

Photos:

5553


Apr. 13, 2022

Snodgrass dry loose

Date of Observation: 04/13/2022
Name: daniel kreykes

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: California bowl

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Super sluffy new snow on crust on open E/NE slopes with supportive crusts. Only a concern on the steepest entrance pitches, but first turns entrained a fair amount of new snow and ran 250-300′ into trees.
Weather: Cold
Snowpack: Nice light pow on crust

5552


Apr. 13, 2022

A tale of 2 cities

Date of Observation: 04/13/2022
Name: jeff banks

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Splains + Axtell Region

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: none observed
Weather: cold, overcast, light intermittent snow. ~1cm over the day.
Increasing Howling winds -can hear the train through the Kebler corridor. Plumes up on red Lady glades & Evan’s Basin (see photo below). New snow ripped away, down to dirty corn.
Snowpack: 2″ overnight, Storm Total 9″-11″ observed.
BTL: No sign of windslab on N + E slopes, just good riding snow quality.
Tree bombs increased from Zero to Widespread as winds increased through out the day + the old growth swayed. No wind effect on snow in open clearings BTL that we skied, just in the tree tops.

Hearsay: Ran into a skier finishing on Axtell 1st Bowl. He said the snow was sluffing in the narrow chutes through the old growth. Then became windslab in the open (poor quality skiing but not reactive under their skis)

Photos:

5551


Apr. 12, 2022

highly variable storm totals

Date of Observation: 04/12/2022
Name: jeff banks

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Splains to Carbon

Observed avalanche activity: No

Weather: Variable:
Carbon light winds w/ sun breaking thru making it feel mild
Under the Kebler Cloud cap: cold + snowy, light winds except in Kebler Corridor

Snowpack: No signs of instability on Wind sheltered slopes.
Did not venture into areas with strong winds.

BTL Intense wind transport in the Kebler corridor
BTL Slopes, all Aspects outside the corridor no wind transport

Storm snow was stuck remarkably well on moist, unfrozen, old snow surface.
Splains region 7″
Carbon region 2″

5549


Apr. 12, 2022

Welcome Back Snow

Date of Observation: 04/12/2022
Name: Evan Ross Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Mt Axtell, Northerly, 9,500ft to 11,500ft

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: In steep terrain near 40 degrees the new snow sluffed easily. Several natural loose snow avalanches in similar terrain. A few small pockets produced a very small slab. All avalanche activity was small in size.

Weather: This was an afternoon tour. Accumulating snowfall continued through the afternoon with a few breaks of clearing weather. Down valley winds were transporting snow, but we were hanging out in mostly wind sheltered areas.

Snowpack: 6 to 7 inches of new snow on average with some settlement through the day with the periods of sun popping out. On NE and E facing terrain the new snow was more noticeably thick and settling quicker. On steep due north facing terrain the riding conditions were the best with a deeper and dryer feel. No real slab avalanche problems were encountered in this mostly wind-sheltered terrain, and loose dry avalanches were the primary problem. Those avalanches were predictable and relatively easy to manage.

Photos:

5548


Apr. 09, 2022

A handful of small wet loose avalanches

Date of Observation: 04/09/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Traveled on NE to SE aspects on Mt. Afley to 12,600 ft this morning, and a brief bino tour along Kebler Pass Road mid day.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Counted a handful of small wet loose avalanches on easterly aspects, a few of which ran yesterday and a few more that ran today, all D1 in size. See photos.
Weather: Thin cloud cover began filling in over the Ruby Range by late morning, with cloud cover holding off a little longer over the Anthracites and Axtell. Moderate westerly ridgetop winds. Warm temps.
Snowpack: Weaker overnight refreeze that was punchy to boot pen (~10″) on a number of slopes but still supportive to skis. We found ideal corn skiing on SE aspects at 10:30 a.m. By 11 a.m, ski pen was increasing to 5″ or 6″ in wet snow on east facing terrain near treeline. The arrival of thicker clouds by noon seemed to help moderate surface melt. Northeast aspects got moist in the upper 6″ or so, and produced a few small wet loose slides while most slopes on that aspect were too roughed up by previous winds to do much.

Photos:

5546


Apr. 08, 2022

Red Lady Bowl

Date of Observation: 04/08/2022
Name: jeff banks

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Up Red Lady glades via old road to billboard
Down Bowl

Observed avalanche activity: No
Weather: 07:00 cold to 12:00 Mild on ridge lines + nearly calm
Snowpack: dense + firm in AM then softening nicely ~11:00
2-3inches of well bonded wind deposited up high, no signs of instability.
Fresh snow has not transformed enough to be great skiing until ~11,600 and then excellent, supportive corn to the valley floor.

5545


Apr. 08, 2022

Teocalli: An hour late and many dollars short, which is why I really want to win those skis tonight!

Date of Observation: 04/08/2022
Name: Travis Colbert

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Brush Creek TH to Teo (8,900-13,200ft); S, SW & SE aspects.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Shallow (10cm), slow-moving, but very heavy wet slides on every turn from the summit through the rocks. Ran (creeped really) 1,000ft or so. Traversed into SW terrain for the bottom half of the run to find more firm snow. We were descending around 1:15. Should have listened to Zach and got to the top by 12:30!
Weather: Upper teens to start, but rapidly warming into the 40’s by mid-day. Not a cloud in the ski and even less wind than forecasted (like none). Nearly took my pants off on the skate out because I was too hot!

CBAC Note:  Travis did win the Weston skis for most quality observations submitted this year. Thank you Travis, awesome job!  Good luck beating the corn window now that you’re anchored down by fatter, heavier skis.  

Photos:

5544


Apr. 08, 2022

Stable corn skiing

Date of Observation: 04/08/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Traveled on E and SE aspects of Cinammon Mountain just before noon, and S to SW aspects shortly after noon. Tested some steep, low elevation E to NE slopes above the Slate River around 1 p.m.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Weather: Light northwest winds. Clear skies. Warm temps.
Snowpack: No signs of instabilities or avalanche problems observed. Ski, boot, and snowmobile penetration never got deeper than the top few inches of wet snow. Surfaces varied from 2″ to 3″ of recent storm snow, isolated drifts, thin wind board, or old melt-freeze crusts brought to the surface by wind erosion. All of these surfaces got wet or moist today but became cohesionless only in the top few inches. The moistening storm snow produced a few shallow rollerballs below treeline. The only types of slopes where it seemed there was potential to get any wet snow moving was on very dusty surfaces (where the snow was more brown than white). The dust expedited warming and caused ski/boot pen to decay to about 6″ in the afternoon. Good corn started around 11 a.m. on Southeast aspects and around noon on South aspects at 11-12k ft.

Photos:

5543


Apr. 07, 2022

A few kernels short of corn conditions on sunny alpine terrain

Date of Observation: 04/07/2022
Name: Eric Murrow

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Slate River to Poverty Gulch. Up Poverty Gulch to Ruby Range spine between Augusta and Purple Mountain.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Weather: Clear skies, seasonably cool temps, and westerly winds blowing around 15 gusts to 30’s.  Temps nearing 40 below treeline, and mid-20s above treeline.
Snowpack: Above treeline, the snow surface largely remained frozen on east to south aspects; just enough softening to make for ‘grippy’ corn conditions but far from good. Around 11k and below riding conditions softened nicely on the south half of the compass, but not enough to cause any loose avalanche concerns. Moving through a large alpine basin, I found stiff slabs, 3-10 inches thick, from the recent extreme wind event were scattered about, more commonly found near treeline than above. They often looked smooth and had a slightly off-white color. I stomped on a few of these recent drifts on small features without result but avoided them on steeper terrain with consequence. This area has received the most snowfall over the past week, and on east through south features, near and above treeline, I found 4-12 inches of snow that could be entrained in a loose wet avalanche IF conditions warm enough during the next few days.

Photos:

5542


Apr. 07, 2022

Creamy Gothic

Date of Observation: 04/07/2022
Name: Zach Guy and Jack Caprio

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Traveled on south to east aspects of Gothic Mtn up to 12,600 ft.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: Nothing recent
Weather: Moderate northerly winds kept things cool. Clear skies. Some periods of blowing snow off of Gothic this morning, mostly just swirling or blowing into the atmosphere.
Snowpack: No signs of instability while skiing in steep terrain. There’s about 2″ to 3″ of dense storm snow well bonded to a stout melt-freeze crust (4/5 crust). In exposed areas, winds stripped the recent snow away down to the crust. We found a few pockets of drifted slabs in the bottom half of the mountain; they were in the 3″ to 8″ thick range and unreactive to ski cuts. The largest and most dense of these was halfway down the east face in a concave gulley, and we simply skirted around it, given the consequences of a small slide there. The dry snow surface got moist on southeast aspects and produced a couple of minor rollerballs, while it stayed dry on east and northeast aspects. The 4/5 crust stayed solidly frozen on all aspects through 1 p.m.

Photos:

5541


Apr. 06, 2022

Wind aftermath

Date of Observation: 04/06/2022
Name: Eric Murrow

Zone: Southeast Mountains and Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Mount Emmons

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: none observed
Weather: Clear skies with seasonably cool temperatures. Westerly winds blowing 10-20 and gusts around 40 above treeline.  On a few occasions, the wind did find soft snow to transport, but no significant loading was observed.
Snowpack: I traveled through northeast, east, southeast, and south leeward terrain features looking for recent slab formation from the wind event and did not find any in the terrain I traveled. I observed lots of wind erosion on north and northwest alpine slopes. I did see a few features inset in gullies or chutes with smooth textures that looked suspicious for holding a thin, hard slab. I would guess there are isolated terrain features with recent hard slab formation but in the big picture it looked like the wind blasted the snow into the atmosphere or lower down slopes below common start zones.

Photos:

5540


Apr. 05, 2022

A bit breezy

Date of Observation: 04/05/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Skied on easterly aspects near Ohio Pass and snowmobiled up to Scarp Ridge, traveling near and below treeline.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: Can we call falling trees an avalanche? If so, there were several large (D2) trees that blew over, along with numerous smaller ones (D1-1.5).
Weather: Extreme wind gusts alternating with moderate lulls out of the west. Sustained flagging off of all of the high peaks and occasional periods of whiteout/blowing snow at all elevations. Intermittent periods of light graupel. Mild temps.
Snowpack: Went hunting for wind slabs, and for the most part, I couldn’t find them. Winds were so strong that blowing snow didn’t seem to be getting deposited anywhere that I traveled. I traversed below two corniced, east-facing ridgelines near treeline, the types of features that normally collect wind slabs, and the snow surface was scoured down to yesterday’s sun crust. A bit lower on the slope, I found a few thin drifts up to 3″ thick that produced mini-wind slab avalanches to ski cuts. I have more uncertainty about loading patterns, or lackthereof, in the alpine, where there was a steady stream of pluming snow off of the peaks all afternoon.

Photos:

5539


Apr. 05, 2022

Little bit of everything

Date of Observation: 04/05/2022
Name: Evan Ross

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: 9,000ft to 11,400ft. N to E. Mt Emmons

Weather: Graupel pelting eye balls. Overcast. Trace of new snow.

Snowpack: The valley and lower elevations are a punchy wet mess. E and NE snow surfaces were better frozen as we got up to 10,000ft. Due north skied ok down to about 10,400ft. No avalanche problems encountered.

Photos:

5538


Apr. 04, 2022

Backcountry is still open for business

Date of Observation: 04/04/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Teocalli Mtn. Traveled mostly on southerly aspects to 13,200 ft.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Nothing new. A handful of small wind slabs and wet loose avalanches from last week, along with a number of previously undocumented large wet avalanches from the big warmup in late March, both wet slabs and gouging wet loose, D1.5-D2 in size.
Weather: Scattered cloud cover this morning gave way to few clouds by mid day. Cool temps and light ridgetop winds at noon.
Snowpack: No signs of instability on steep terrain. The recent snow, up 4″ to 6″ here, was redistributed by winds at higher elevations with localized drifts up to a foot thick that were unreactive to ski cuts. The snow is transitioning to almost-corn on south aspects and still dry powder on north. There was a dusting of snow yesterday that accumulated on melt-freeze crusts. That low density snow is starting to facet above the crust, but it was also getting cooked on sunny aspects.

Photos:

5537


Apr. 03, 2022

Quiet snowpack

Date of Observation: 04/03/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Mt. Axtell, northerly aspects to 11,800 ft.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: Nothing recent
Weather: Light winds, no blowing snow. Overcast and obscured cloud cover. A pulse of moderate snowfall came through just after noon, otherwise minimal precip.
Snowpack: No signs of instability on steep terrain. About 6″ of settled storm snow from the past week above dry snow on north terrain and a 2″ meltfreeze crust on northeasterly left behind after last week’s warmup.
There was evidence of very light rain last night to about ~10,500ft and a dusting of snow higher up. We didn’t poke around on any proper above treeline terrain because visibility was too poor. Near treeline, the recent wind transport has eroded northerly terrain and reverse loaded the drifted snow onto the flat summit ridgeline facing south, where it got cooked yesterday. My biggest concern, which we didn’t find evidence of, would be a relatively small, lingering crossloaded wind slab somewhere in wind affected northerly terrain.
I dug one pit to test for persistent slab concerns in a wind-eroded north facing alpine slope, wondering about the potential to initiate/propagate a failure from a shallow spot. The answer was a hard no here. The dryspell weak layer is the same hardness as the overlying slab, and it produced no concerning results in tests (ECTX, PST100/100).

Photos:

5535


Apr. 02, 2022

Wetting storm snow

Date of Observation: 04/02/2022
Name: Zach Guy and Evan Ross 

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Traveled on various aspects to 11,600 ft in the Slate and Poverty Gulch areas.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: A handful of small loose wet avalanches ran today at all elevations. Most were on easterly aspects where we traveled.

Weather: A mix of sun and clouds. Sun had the upper hand in the morning, clouds took the lead in the afternoon. Light to moderate westerly winds, with periods of snow transport observed off of high peaks. Warm temps.

Snowpack: The recent storm snow, up to 18″, got wet or moist at the surface on all but due north aspects, spurring numerous rollerballs and a handful of minor wet loose slides. Near and below treeline, we tested steep rollovers and previously drifted slopes with ski and snowmobile cuts without any notable results; some occasional minor cracking. Stability test results on a due north slope produced non-propagating results at the storm interface.

Photos:

5534


Apr. 01, 2022

Small Wind Slabs in the Taylor Pass to Star Pass area

Date of Observation: 04/01/2022
Name: GT Field Teams

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Taylor Pass to Star Pass area

Avalanches: 6x naturals 4x ASc. A few inches of dry snow between 1cm 3/31 crust and bomber 2/26 crust

Snowpack: SE ATL WSa reactive 7-10″ thick up to 14. Running on 3/31 crust. All D1’s on small features; long slopes would be approaching D2.

5533


Apr. 01, 2022

Quick morning tour near town

Date of Observation: 04/01/2022
Name: Evan Ross

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: ENE 9,000 to 9,500ft

Avalanches: Small wind slab in Coon Bowl. Nothing notable in the Whetstone area, or around CB.

Snowpack: At 11am, east had a soft refrozen 4″ crust that was supportable to skis but not boots. The rest of the snowpack below had been wetted and appeared to consist of large grains but I didn’t look in detail. The recent snow had been zapped down to 2cm’s. This terrain will probably become unsupportable during the next warm-up.

Photos:

5532


Apr. 01, 2022

Searching for the problem

Date of Observation: 04/01/2022
Name: Evan Ross

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: 9,000ft to 12,000ft on a variety of aspects.

Avalanches: There were a couple of D1 wind slabs out some small loose wet avalanches, but really uneventful.

Weather: Snowfall ended in the morning and the sky became partly cloudy through the mid-day before increasing in the late afternoon. Winds died down mid-day, but otherwise were transporting snow at upper elevations.

Snowpack: Welp I tried, but I sure didn’t find much. It’s interesting, the last two storms have come in somewhat upside down with layers of softer perception particles and/or graupel near the bottom of the slab. These layers are capable of producing avalanches, and they have… but they have also quickly quieted down. Triggering a wind slab on these interfaces seems possible, but I didn’t manage to find the most concerning areas. At near treeline elevations, these slabs seem to be baking in quickly with the warm temps and strong sun lately. Above treeline may be more problematic.

I targeted several wind-loaded locations and each time I didn’t find them to be currently very problematic. So call it a strikeout. However, the potential was obviously there and wind slab management would have been key.

In northerly wind-sheltered areas, there was around a foot of recent snow from these last two storms. The potential weak layers were better preserved in these areas, but I never found enough of a slab to create a more widespread storm slab issue. As you travel to lower elevations the recent snow accumulations have been zapped down and offered some creamy turns but was also not problematic.

Photos:

5531


Apr. 01, 2022

Lower Grand Traverse route

Date of Observation: 3/31/22 and 04/01/2022
Name: Zach Kinler

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Lower Grand Traverse route. Deer Cr and West Brush Cr areas. 9,000-9,500′

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches:
Weather: Clear skies led to quick warming on southerly aspects as temps rose above freezing both days. A nice freeze on 3/31 gave way to a very weak freeze on 4/1. NW winds were generally light with an occasional moderate gust in open areas.
Snowpack: Targeting low elevation shoulder aspects on the GT course, I was tracking surface crusts and snowpack structure. Both East and West aspects below 9,500′ in this zone have similar depth and structure. HS was around 70 cm with a fully supportable 6-8″ MFcr forming Wednesday night. Below this crust was moist, large-grain rounds to the ground. By Friday midday on East aspects, the crust was supportive to ski but not to boot. If this crust does not break down today, it will with tomorrow’s warming. This will create a shallow, yet somewhat wet mess on these slopes.

 

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5530


Apr. 01, 2022

Gothic 7am Weather Update

Date of Observation: 04/01/2022
Name: billy barr

Zone: Southeast Mountains

Weather: Cloudy and warm with generally light but steady snow overnight stopping at sunrise as it seems to be clearing a bit. There was 4½” new snow and a dense 0.39″ of water with the snowpack is at 52½”. Light wind with an occasional gust to 15 mph westerly. Despite the warm temperature before the snow started at 29F and a low overnight of 24F the snow surface did seem to crust up so should make a surface for the new snow while solidifying the snowpack a bit. So maybe some surface sluffs. Currently mostly cloudy and 24F with light wind and no snow.

5529


Mar. 31, 2022

Photos of recent wind slabs

Date of Observation: 03/31/2022
Name: Evan Ross

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Ruby Range near Irwin

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: The Ruby Range had a good natural avalanche cycle yesterday. Wind slabs had failed on north to east to south-facing slopes, mostly above treeline. The crowns were generally shallow, but some had fairly wide propagation through the start zones. Most avalanches appeared to be on the lowest end of a D2.

There were several D1 loose wet avalanches on easterly and south easterly facing slopes that ran today.
Weather: Clear and calm. Cloud cover quickly increased around just after noon.

Snowpack: Traveled on a number of steep, small terrain features on NE to E to SE between 10,500 and 12,400ft with only 1 notable result. Dug into several different slopes looking at the recent storm snow down to the 3/29 interface. The snowpack structure was fairly simple and could be summarized similarly for all those locations. The recent storm snow has a notable density change with stronger snow over softer snow. In some areas, it’s just a thin layer of softer precipitation particles near the 3/29 interface and in others, it’s layers of graupel. While we did find a notable layer of faceted grains at the 3/29 interface yesterday on a north-facing slope, I wasn’t able to find any notable persistent weak layers above the 3/29 interface in today’s observation. ECT test didn’t produce results and CT test produced moderate results on the density change with a rough fracture character. Slabs averaged in the 6 to 12 inch range, but I was able to find some wind drifted features with slabs near 2 feet thick.

Photos:

5528


Mar. 31, 2022

Rider triggered wind slab

Date of Observation: 03/31/2022

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Baxter Basin

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Snowboarder triggered a wind slab 2/3 down a chute, was able to ride off of the slab without getting caught. Also a large slab off of Oh-Be-Joyful Peak

Photos:

5527


Mar. 31, 2022

Natural slab avalanches in the Ruby Range

Date of Observation: 03/31/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Viewed from Mt. CB.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Could see about 10 slab avalanches in the Ruby Range that ran during yesterday or last night’s wind event, ranging from D1.5 to D2, generally above treeline. One gouging wet loose below treeline that looks like it ran Tuesday or maybe even Wednesday.
Weather: Thin cloud cover increased mid day.

Photos:

5526


Mar. 31, 2022

Human Triggered Wind Slab

Date of Observation: 03/30/2022

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Irwin Area

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: We saw a far more reactive snowpack today than yesterday, due to a notable density change and moderate NW winds overnight. Popped out a couple slides very easily with good propagation. By the afternoon, the snow was spongy and squeaky, and low on the west wall and an ever so slight zipper crust had already formed.

Photos:

5525


Mar. 30, 2022

Several skier triggered wind slabs

Date of Observation: 03/30/2022
Name: Zach Guy Evan Ross

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Poverty Gulch, 9,500ft to 11,500ft. N, NE, SE.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Skier triggered several small wind slabs on N, NE, and SE aspects between about 10,500ft and 11,500ft. These each released in storm snow, just above the 3/29 interface. Crowns averaged 6″ to 10″ thick.

Weather: The first 3/4th of the day consisted of a mostly cloudy sky with a few short breaks. Cloud cover began to decrease in the afternoon. Where we traveled the wind was moderate with a variable direction and transported snow through the day. As the sky was clearing in the afternoon, the winds looked strong in the alpine from west to northwest with lots of blowing snow.

Snowpack: Recent snow accumulations have settled down to 1″ to 3″ in the valley and 3″ to 6″ at upper elevations. Wind slabs were the only avalanche concern we encountered. The new snow was thick or slabby feeling, and conditions made it difficult to identify wind-loaded terrain features. The skier-triggered wind slabs were breaking above the 3/29 interface, on a density change in the storm snow.

On northerly facing slopes at upper elevations, the 3/29 interface was a thin crust over lightly faceted grains or no crust and just faceted grains. There wasn’t enough snow to create a widespread new snow avalanche problem on this interface and additional wind-loading was necessary. We aborted one up route when we encountered a slab around a foot thick on faceted grains near ridgeline that we couldn’t avoid.

Down in the valley, the road was still punchy with snowmobile skis and tracks sinking deeply at times. Talked to on group that was looking for a quick ski near the trailhead and aborted because the snowpack wasn’t supportable. In the afternoon our snowmobiles were at times sinking deeply on the road.

Photos:

5524


Mar. 30, 2022

April 1 Snow Surveys

Date of Observation: 03/30/2022
Name: Andrew Breibart

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Keystone snow course
Crested Butte snow course

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: NA

Weather: Early AM Keystone: obscured skies, 30 degrees F, light to moderate winds
Late AM and early PM: CB snow course: mostly cloudy and clearing, light to moderate winds, above freezing.

Snowpack: Keystone (lower Red Lady Glades): 2 inches of new snow. supportive: Average snow depth: 43 inches; average SWE: 14.6 inches; density 34%
CB snow course (Slate River Valley near town): 1 inch of new snow, which appeared to ablate within two hours on site. Unsupportive snow on and off skin tracks. We had ski pen 2 to 4 inches while skinning. Average snow depth: 39 inches; average SWE: 12.7 inches; density 32%. Had melt water at the bottom of the pack in 4 of 12 samples. (side note: Slate River is starting to have increased runoff relative to the winter low flow).

5523


Mar. 29, 2022

Freezing temps up high and mushy snowpack down low

Date of Observation: 03/29/2022
Name: Eric Murrow

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Snowmobile tour around Kebler Pass area and ski tour up Elk Creek.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: Did not observe any natural avalanches. Skier triggered a tiny loose avalanche on a northeast aspect in the moist storm snow below treeline that ran on top of the soft crust that formed overnight. I suspect that longer slopes below 11,000 feet would have allowed a loose avalanche in the storm snow to gouge into the wet snow below.
Weather: Mostly cloudy skies, periodic light snowfall with a few periods of S1-S2, and moderate westerly winds at upper elevations. Mild temperatures below treeline and a few periods of sunshine. New snow accumulations ranged from 2 – 7 inches along the Kebler corridor at 4pm.
Snowpack: The storm snow was moist and sticky on all aspects below treeline, and the sunny terrain features I traveled on to treeline. At low elevations, the crust below the storm snow was very thin and soft. East, south, and west slopes below treeline felt trap door and punchy. A quick profile on a northeast slope below treeline showed a good amount of liquid water lingering in the snowpack that was draining into the February facet layer. Crusts became supportive to skis somewhere around or just above 11,000 feet. Crusts at 12,000 feet were up to 2 inches thick. I poked into wind drift around 12 inches thick and did not see any cracking or signs of instability. Winds were efficiently transporting the storm snow onto the east half of the compass at 12k.

Photos:

5521


Mar. 29, 2022

Worst refreeze yet

Date of Observation: 03/29/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Roadside hand pits in the lower Slate and Mt. CB area, 7 a.m.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Snowpack: Cloud cover and snow last night made for a worse refreeze than any of the previous nights. In some locations, there was a soft, thin crust with unsupportive wet snow below. Where that setup exists, it felt like a ski turn or snowmobile cut could get a large, gouging wet loose avalanche going. In other locations, there were a few stronger ice lenses near the surface that were still unsupportive to boot pen, but added enough strength to the upper snowpack to prevent gouging. Variability seemed to come from aspect (better refreeze on more easterly slopes that went into the shade yesterday afternoon) or maybe elevation.

5520


Mar. 28, 2022

The meltwater is driving deeper on northerly slopes

Date of Observation: 03/28/2022
Name: Eric Murrow

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Washington Gulch. Obs come from the Northwest and Southeast zones.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Numerous loose avalanches from the past few days on east and west aspects. I did not observe anything new today between 11am and 430pm. I spotted a small wet slab that likely ran on Sunday 3/27 and a couple loose avalanches on NW slopes of Emmons at 12,000 feet.
Weather: Increasing cloud cover throughout the day and slight increase in winds. Warm temperatures that felt a small amount cooler than the day before.
Snowpack: I was looking to track meltwater depth on northerly slopes. On northeast and northwest slopes around 11,500 feet, I found that meltwater had formed an ice lens above the February facet layer and a small amount of water was oozing through the lens into the mostly dry facet layer. On a drifted east slope at 11,900 feet, I found that meltwater had moved through a very dense 1-meter thick slab past the February weak layer and was pooling in denser snow below Feb facets. On a due north slope at 9500 feet, the meltwater had formed an ice lense above the February facets with liquid water present along the ice lens and weak, dry facets below; on an adjacent northeast portion of this feature the Feb facet layer was wet. See profiles for more details. Low elevation sunny terrain was close to an unsupportive, mushy mess in the later afternoon. I produced a few moderately-sized rolling collapses in the valley bottom around 430.

Photos:

5518


Mar. 28, 2022

More wet activity on westerlies from yesterday

Date of Observation: 03/28/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Viewed from Mt. CB

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Spotted a handful of D1.5 to D2 wet loose avalanches on W and NW aspects near and below treeline that ran sometime after I glassed the slopes at 4 p.m. yesterday
Weather: Few clouds, light winds, warm.
Snowpack: Boot penetration was to the ground through wet snow at noon.

5517


Mar. 28, 2022

Gothic 7 a.m.

Date of Observation: 03/28/2022
Name: billy barr

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Gothic Townsite

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: A good number of wet, loose slides were running as the snowpack is rotting out though this should halt with the weather change as the clouds are moving in.
Weather: Yesterday was the third day in a row of 50ºF weather, all record highs for the date, with yesterday’s 58F the warmest as the snowpack has dropped rapidly to the lowest since the beginning of the month at 51″ on the ground now, about 7″ below average for this date. The low overnight 23F and currently 24F as it has become mostly cloudy.
Snowpack:

Photos:

5516


Mar. 27, 2022

Gothic

Date of Observation: 03/27/2022
Name: Dominic Gawel

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Skin out from gothic.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Loose wet on lookers left, wet slab on lookers right around the crackin’s arm.

Photos:

5514


Mar. 27, 2022

Large wet slide off of Gothic

Date of Observation: 03/27/2022

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Gothic Road

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Gothics SE side ran down to valley floor. Smaller releases on the E side proper

Photos:

5513


Mar. 27, 2022

Another Cement Wet Slide

Date of Observation: 03/27/2022
Name: daniel kreykes

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Bowl/gully above first Cement dispersed sites

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Largish loose wet slide off E aspect cliffs that ran 3/26. Entrained enough snow to deposit snow up to 7′ deep and 90′ wide in the gully bottom.
Weather: Hot. E/SE was sketchy and trapdoor by 10am. S by 1045am

Photos:

5512


Mar. 27, 2022

More wet avalanches, a few large ones.

Date of Observation: 03/27/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Rode out towards West Brush Creek this morning. Turned around because the sled was trenching to the ground in bottomless wet snow. Midday lap on the west side of Snodgrass, and PM bino tour from CBMR.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Continued wet loose activity at all elevations, mostly D1 to D1.5 in size, most abundantly on E/NE aspects. Notable larger slides include: A D2 wet loose that we watched run at 11:20 out of Climax Chutes. Another D2 wet loose off of Gibson Ridge. A gouging wet loose out of the Spoon on Gothic that probably grew to D2 in size. A wet loose that propagated as a relatively narrow wet slab further downslope in Redwell Basin (E, BTL) and was about D2 in size.
Weather: Warm, periods of thin scattered clouds, light winds.
Snowpack: 2″ to 6″ refreeze this morning (depending on elevation and tree cover) was supportive to boots and skis but was generally unsupportive to snowmobiles. We found an isothermal and fully wet snowpack on flat, south, and west facing terrain below treeline. At 11:30 a.m., the crust was starting to thaw and become unsupportive on south aspects, natural activity was already underway by then on east aspects, and west aspects had good corn skiing. One pit on a west aspect of Snodgrass showed a 16″ cohesive wet slab over wet facets. There was a lot of free water pooling on a thin crust just above the dry spell facets, which were also wet but not flooded.

Photos:

5511


Mar. 27, 2022

Cement Creek wet slide

Date of Observation: 03/27/2022
Name: Cosmo Langsfeld

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Cement creek road, ~1/2 mile past winter trailhead

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Wet slide on road below the ranch. Came off of east ish facing cliffs above the road. Slid on or gouged to the ground.
Weather: 50 degrees in the shade at 3pm

Photos:

5510


Mar. 26, 2022

Afternoon wet avalanche obs

Date of Observation: 03/26/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: 4 p.m. bino tour from top of CBMR

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Good vantage of lots of terrain. Easterly aspects were most active today, with a dozen or so previously undocumented wet loose avalanches, mostly D1 starting from steep rocky terrain features. The largest and most notable was a D2 below Gibson Ridge (E, BTL). There was also one avalanche that broke as a narrow slab above Copper Creek, probably a wet slab (D1.5, SE ATL)

Photos:

5509