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Jan. 18, 2022

Scarps To OBJ

Date of Observation: 01/18/2022
Name: Evan Ross & Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Up the RLB skin track. Out Scarps. Drop to Peeler Basin and out OBJ. 9,000ft to 12,300ft. Primary traveling on aspects facing the northern half of the compass.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: All old avalanches from the holiday avalanche cycle.

Weather: Increasing and decreasing sky. Anything from clear to overcast throughout the day. Clam wind.

Snowpack: This tour didn’t encounter a moment where it felt like there was a chance of triggering a slab avalanche. Small sluffs on steep northerly slopes were about it. Managing regrouping areas for the very unlikely chance of triggering a large to very large avalanche seemed to be the best travel advice.

West and NW aspects at NTL elevations had the most dramatic changes from trigger points to a deeper snowpack. Otherwise, we didn’t find ourselves managing trigger point travel advice. Other aspects are either, deep, blown off, or non-problematic.

On a northerly facing slope NTL the snow surface consisted of .5mm or smaller NSF. The snowpack is still supportive to boots NTL/BLT elevations and you can actually take both skis off at once without sinking deeply, which isn’t typical for our snowpack this time of year.

5261


Jan. 18, 2022

Fun Facts: 5th Bowl on Axtell

Date of Observation: 01/18/2022
Name: Whitney Gilliam

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Axtell 5th Bowl (Green Lake)

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Previously undocumented hard slab avalanche off of the E/NE side of 5th bowl. Crushed Green Lake.

Photos:

5260


Jan. 17, 2022

I made my probe disappear

Date of Observation: 01/17/2022
Name: Zach Kinler

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Upper Poverty Gulch to the north side of Augusta. 9,000′-12,000′.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: No new avalanches
Weather: Perfect weather for an alpine tour, Clear skies, broke out of the inversion above about 10,000 ft. Calm to light northerly breezes.
Snowpack: Deep. No signs of instability. Probing across a few easterly aspects at upper elevations which had not avalanched previously, I was not able to find the ground with a 300 cm probe and just about broke the probe getting it through the incredibly hard slabs. Surfaces are a bit roughed up on many north through east aspects. Variable crusts on anything tipping to the south.

 

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5259


Jan. 17, 2022

Fun Facts: 3rd and 4th Bowl of Mt. Axtell

Date of Observation: 01/17/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Skied northerly aspects to 12,000 ft. on Axtell

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Nothing recent. Got a closer look at carnage from the last cycle in 3rd and 4th Bowl. There is a full-depth crown that runs from the edge of 2nd Bowl to the far edge of the Pencil, but not into Wang Chung. This slide snapped a bunch of trees up to a foot in diameter near its trim line, and the debris merged with 2nd Bowl debris. The crown might have connected to the 2nd Bowl avalanche (previously documented). The slide on the Shield (previously documented) ran just short of a mile, snapping mature trees in its trimline, well out of site of the start zone. The alpha angle from the furthest tree snapped is 19 degrees. There really isn’t anywhere within the runouts of 2nd, 3rd, or 4th bowls that you could have stood safely during December 31st.
Weather: Mostly clear. Inverted temps. Calm winds.
Snowpack: No signs of deep instabilities. Near-surface facet sluffing on open faces, changes to firm wind board in confined terrain where winds get channeled. The Pencil and Shield crowns broke at the ground, so the little snow that is there now is subject to strong temperature gradients. That’s a good recipe for advanced faceting and repeat offenders once the bedsurfaces get reloaded with snowfall. We encountered surface hoar growth as we descended into the inversion, at about 9600′

Photos:

5258


Jan. 17, 2022

White Rock

Date of Observation: 01/17/2022
Name: Evan Ross

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Brush Creek to White Rock Mountain. 10,000ft to 13,500

Weather: Beautiful day. Few clouds. Steady light wind in the alpine.

Snowpack: Nice to keep stretching our legs into all parts of our forecast area while getting out to enjoy the sunshine. The alpine in this area is very blown and wind affected once you are above treeline. We didn’t observe any avalanche problems above treeline. Not much to report on really. Lots of ski traffic in the Brush Creek area and it’s great to see everyone out getting some cool lines that finally have a nice snowpack.

5257


Jan. 16, 2022

Dipping a toe in both zones…

Date of Observation: 01/16/2022

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Top of Coon to Red Lady Basin, Redwell to OBJ; OBJ to Schuylkill via the west side; Birthday back to the car. 9,000-12,000 feet & most aspects.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: All old crowns, but lots of them.
Weather: Cold to start, but warming quickly throughout the day. Light N winds that decreased throughout the day.
Snowpack: A little bit of everything. A bit crusty, but OK (assertive) skiing on SE & SW aspects. N and NE aspects had some punchy, wind-affected snow, but most of the textured snow skied really well. Felt like a spring tour today.

Photos:

5256


Jan. 16, 2022

Testing deep layers in West Brush Creek

Date of Observation: 01/16/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: West Brush Creek, generally traveled on E and NE aspects to 11,300 ft.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Weather: Calm winds. A few thin clouds this afternoon.
Snowpack: No signs of instability. HS ranged from 120 to 150 cm. PSTs targeting basal weak layers showed an improving trend, with propagation after half of the weak layer was cut (PST 58/120 END down 120cm on 12/6). There were some shrubberies within the weak layer that may have affected the results.  The 12/6 layer (2.5-3.5 mm rounding depth hoar, 4F) shows noticeable signs of rounding and hardening compared to pits at a similar elevation last week.
Snow surfaces are faceting and are currently weakest (and softest) on near and below treeline, wind-sheltered, shaded terrain. Sun crusts have formed on anything with a hint of south of due east. Wind board at higher elevations or on more wind-exposed lower elevations.

Photos:

5255


Jan. 16, 2022

Whetstone Summit bowl

Date of Observation: 01/15/2022
Name: Alan Bernholtz

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Hiked the west ridge and skied the northeast summit bowl

Observed avalanche activity: No
Weather: Clear skies, moderate temperatures and moderate winds near and above tree line out of the north north east at 25mph estimated.
Snowpack: Near and above tree line was wind pressed and textured snow surface. Variable depths depending on terrain features. Protected lower elevation areas was boot top creamy snow with near surface facettes. We did not see any signs of instability or recent avalanche activity.

5254


Jan. 15, 2022

East river valley

Date of Observation: 01/15/2022
Name: D K

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Snodgrass to East river bottom. Up Redrock subridge and back to Snodgrass TH via Gothic and Snodgrass.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: One unreported slide on E face BTL @ 9200′. Older crown from the holiday storm. Glide crack has developed in bed surface since.
Weather: Bluebird. Wind kicked up NTL
Snowpack: Breaker suncrusts on all southern half slopes traveled up to 11500′. Slopes on northern half were sloughing in steeper terrain where sheltered from yesterday’s wind.

Photos:

5253


Jan. 15, 2022

Poking around in the shallower areas near town

Date of Observation: 01/15/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Various E to NE aspects below treeline near town, up to 10,400 ft.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Weather: Clear, cool, calm where we traveled. I could see blowing snow off of peaks near Paradise Divide this afternoon.
Snowpack: No signs of instability except shallow sluffing. Snow depths averaged 150 cm. On a steep, northeast aspect below treeline, a “deep tap” ECT produced propagating results on basal weak layers, suggesting propagation potential is still there if you can impact the weak layer. The weak layer does show signs of improvement compared to a pit in a similar location a week ago; grains are rounding, 2-3mm, and 4F- hard (compared to F hard and no apparent rounding last week). I hunted for shallow spots below treeline, and the only terrain feature with a thinner snowpack was a rocky face on which slab and weak layer are likely discontinuous. Ski cuts on that feature produced sluffing.

Photos:

5252


Jan. 14, 2022

Fun Facts: 2nd Bowl Mt Axtell

Date of Observation: 01/14/2022
Name: Evan Ross

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: 2nd Bowl Mt Axtell

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: This avalanche was previously documented during the holiday natural avalanche cycle, but we hadn’t been to the toe of the avalanche to confirm just how far it had run.

This was a very large avalanche that is estimated to have propagated across the full start zone. It ran to, or through, the historic trim line of the avalanche path. The avalanche ran for just short of a mile in length. It descended close to 1,900ft in elevation, and in the runout it ran horizontally 1,800ft through mostly flat or hilly terrain. Alpha angle around 19.7 degrees. All those junky little trees in the avalanche track that interrupt your ski turns are now nicely pruned.

Photos:

5251


Jan. 14, 2022

Carbon Peak

Date of Observation: 01/13/2022
Name: Evan Ross

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Carbon Peak. North. 9,800-11,900ft

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: Nothing new or notable.

Weather: Calm wind with thin clouds creating partly to mostly cloudy sky.

Snowpack: Headed to Carbon Peak to get more observations from areas that generally hold a shallower snowpack. The northern slopes of Carbon had an HS averaging around 160cm, with some probe strikes hitting 120cm and some hitting 190cm. Of course, no obvious signs of instability. Targeted a shallower area with an HS of 135cm on a 22-degree north-facing slope at 11,400ft. The mid-pack consisted of P hard snow. The 12/6 interface was about 25cm thick of moist 3mm facets that were 4F+ hard. PST and DT tests were inconclusive. 1 PST had no result and while performing the other the cut was interrupted by a hidden rock. While setting up deep tap tests the heavy columns kept breaking in the facets on isolation. Those were irregular rough breaks. This location had scree on the ground and I believe that led to the inaccurate or inconclusive tests. No buried layers of concern were found in the upper snowpack.

The snow quality was great. Fast and surfy.

Photos:

5250


Jan. 14, 2022

Northern Ruby Range

Date of Observation: 01/13/2022
Name: Zach Kinler

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Baxter Basin to Angel Pass area

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Spotted ! D1.5 Wind Slab on SE aspect that likely ran later in the day on 1/12. Several D1 wet loose on steep South from 1/12, 1 that was D1.5(didn’t get picture)
Weather: High thin clouds and light northerly breezes kept it feeling cooler than previous day although temps reached a bit higher.
Snowpack: Surfaces had been worked a bit by wind and sun in alpine areas. Variable crusts on steep S-SE up higher and E at lower elevations. Jumped in a bed surface on a NNE slope that had avalanched around 12/31. There was 75 cm of snow on the old bed surface, up to 1F hard. At this location, the 1/6 interface was 1-1.25 mm facets and produced propagating ECT only after standard loading steps and smackin it a bit harder. The overlying slab was fairly soft(4F).

 

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5249


Jan. 13, 2022

Emmons

Date of Observation: 01/13/2022
Name: Jack Caprio

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Wolverine to climax

Observed avalanche activity: No

Weather: Sunny and warm. Light winds

Snowpack: HS in Wolverine basin averaged around 220 cms. HS in wind affected areas near ridge line was much less ~1 meter. Snow surfaces above treeline in NNW terrain consisted of 5-10 cm of punchy wind slab. Unreactive to ski cuts but decreased ski quality. Bummer.

Wind protected areas below treeline on steep shady slopes provided great near surface facet surfing.

5248


Jan. 13, 2022

Wind ferked

Date of Observation: 01/13/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Rec tour on Owen. NE to E to SE aspects up to 13,000 ft

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Nothing new. A couple of previously undocumented slides from the last cycle; could only see debris piles. Details below.
Weather: Increasing thin clouds. Warm temps, light winds.
Snowpack: We assessed 2” to 4” hard wind drifted slabs near ridgetop that appeared to be bonding well; unreactive to ski cuts. No signs of instability in steep terrain. Surfaces are wind affected above treeline after yesterday’s winds.

Photos:

5247


Jan. 13, 2022

Lower Slate River

Date of Observation: 01/13/2022

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: 9,000-12,000 E & NE aspects.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Weather: Sunny & warm, hot actually, with no wind.
Snowpack: ATL, E aspect had some wind-effect, but soft snow could be found with a little sniffing around. BTL, NE aspect was creamy & dreamy. 25-30cm settlement cones around the aspens. Evidence of past avalanche activity is becoming harder to discern.

5246


Jan. 12, 2022

Opa’s/Taylor Pass

Date of Observation: 01/12/2022
Name: Jeff Banks

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: 4 days at Opa’s/Taylor Pass zone from Ashcroft trailhead.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: 3 x D1.5’s from ~Friday/Saturday on SE-S ridgecrests ~40º
~D2.5/D3 on Ski Hayden same time frame

Weather: Today, Clear with strong N winds NTL & ATL.
Opa’s hut 11,800 was dusted with windblown snow this AM & impressive Plumes on the high peaks >12K.

Snowpack: Thin & highly variable, compared to closer to CB. NTL & ATL, Lot’s of willows & old road cuts showing
Just Localized collapses under foot- no further propagation while passing over willows, over 4 days of touring.

NTL/ATL: Highly Variable to local wind patterns, many slopes blown to gravel or big wind drifted pillows.

N BTL @ 11,500: HS 140cm in forest w/o wind effect. Sugar at the ground w/ Fist resistance.

photos @12,200 on Little Italian pass & M&M chutes

Photos:

5245


Jan. 12, 2022

Old deep slabs from Upper Yule Creek

Date of Observation: 01/12/2022
Name: Zach Guy and Evan Ross

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Upper Yule Creek

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Documenting more activity from 12/31 cycle that we missed from the flight

Photos:

5244


Jan. 12, 2022

Old deep slab crowns on Beckwiths and west side of Ruby Range

Date of Observation: 01/12/2022
Name: Zach Guy and Evan Ross

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: East and West Beckwith and Anthracite Creek as viewed from the Blob.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Recording a handful of previously undocumented avalanches that likely ran around 12/30 to 12/31. Viewed from afar, and some crowns have been partially drifted in, so sizes are best estimates.

Photos:

5243


Jan. 12, 2022

Upper Yule Creek

Date of Observation: 01/12/2022
Name: Evan Ross & Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: We started low at Slate River TH, but mainly traveled in the upper Yule Creek area between 12,800 and 10,800 on W to N to E aspects.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: No new avalanche activity. A few more old avalanches that have not been documented. With closer inspection, we decided that the previously documented avalanche that spanned between Purple and the Blob was another D4 from the holiday cycle. Just another impressive avalanche from that cycle.

Weather: Thin clouds creating partly cloudy sky. Steady moderate winds in the alpine, primarily from the W-NW in the morning and more NE in the late afternoon.

Snowpack: In the alpine, the wind was transporting snow throughout the day. However those winds were creating more variably snow surfaces and wind effect, then they were actually creating new wind slabs. In those same areas, we were also managing old hard slabs that have been created over the last couple of days by recent winds. These slabs were hard, only a few inches thick, and stubborn, but ready to take you off your feet in terrain that you wanted to stay on your feet.

Between Purple and the Ant, there are few places that the snowpack wasn’t altered by the holiday avalanche cycle. We did travel in steep terrain on slopes that didn’t appear to have previously avalanches, but most of the terrain traveled had previously avalanched or had old avalanche debris, all of which has been covered back up by new snow in January. West and Northwest aspects held more trigger-points or areas that the snowpack would go from shallow to deep abruptly. Surprisingly we made some of our best turns on a steep NW aspect starting below about 12,600ft and just below all the windblown snow surfaces near the ridgeline.

All in all for the deep persistent slab avalanche problem we chose to reduce our risk by managing trigger points vs slope angles.


Jan. 12, 2022

Red Coon to Redwell…

Date of Observation: 01/12/2022

Zone: Northwest Mountains & Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Climbed to the top of Coon Basin from town. Descended into Red Lady Basin via upper Red Coon Glades. Caught the Red Lady lap track and climbed the standard route to Gunsight Pass. Descended Redwell Basin to OBJ. Skated back to town on the nordic trails (nordic pass displayed, of course). 9,000-12,200; mostly N, NE, S & SE aspects.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Lots of old crowns, but nothing new. A few small point releases in rocky terrain on solar aspects.

Weather: Beautiful Day! Very slight and intermittent NW breeze. Sunny and quite pleasant.

Snowpack: S & SE aspects held a firm, supportable crust with spring-like corn skiing. Watching a few folks dropping in, it looked like the snow in RLB was still soft. Snow on shaded N aspects was dense, smooth & soft. Very little wind-effect in Redwell except at the very top. Nordic trails were exquisitely groomed!

5240


Jan. 11, 2022

CBCS Snow Science Class

Date of Observation: 01/11/2022
Name: Harrison Bosler, Math Alagna and Zach Kinler

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Drove to Crested Butte Community School, walked to hillside west of school.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches:
Weather: Blue skies, strong solar, cold temps remained in the valley floor
Snowpack: HS was 90 to 110 cm on NE aspects in town. Very supportive snowpack with 15 cm boot pen. The 12/6 interface is quite thin making up the bottom few centimeters of the snowpack and is sintering and gaining strength. The snow is strong immediately above and below the 12/23 Melt-freeze crust and does not appear to be an issue here. The 1/6 Graupel layer produced easy CT results and Non-Propagating ECT results as there is little slab on top of it in this shallower snowpack, will keep an eye on this one as slabs grow above. 4 mm surface hoar has formed on the surface and will likely continue to grow especially at these valley bottom locations.

 

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Jan. 11, 2022

Axtell Supportive Snow and Surface Hoar

Date of Observation: 01/11/2022
Name: Josh Jones

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Mt. Axtell Half Bowl

Observed avalanche activity: No
Weather: 8 Degrees
4.0 MPH NNW wind
0/8 Skycover
Snowpack: Deep and consistent snow observed on northwest to northeast aspects on Mt. Axtell’s Half Bowl. At about 10500′ and below we observed surface hoar, with large grains in spots. Great skiing conditions.

5238


Jan. 11, 2022

Deep snowpack Upper Slate

Date of Observation: 01/11/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Upper Slate. Traveled mostly on E and NE aspects to 12,000 ft.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: Nothing today. Spotted a few more small wet loose avalanches from yesterday on south facing ATL terrain.
Weather: Thin scattered clouds, light westerly winds at ridgetop. Mild temps.
Snowpack: No signs of instability. Snow depths averaged 3 meters. I probed on a slope that is often thin and wind eroded and snow depth there was just over 2 meters. Snow surfaces are morphing into small-grained near surface facets. Evidence of northwest winds drifting some snow overnight, but didn’t see any obvious wind slabs where we traveled.

Photos:

5237


Jan. 10, 2022

Testing deep layers in Peeler Basin. And graupel concerns.

Date of Observation: 01/10/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Upper Peeler Basin and OBJ Basin, traveled mostly on E and NE aspects from 12,200 to 9,500 ft.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: A handful of wet loose ran today on sunny aspects near treeline, D1 in size. Spotted a few more small soft slabs on leeward terrain (D1) that failed on Saturday on the storm interface. Also noted two slabs that broke around the same time but a little deeper than the storm interface, likely on the graupel layer that was buried ~1/6. These were a bit thicker and denser, D1.5 in size, and in classic graupel pooling locations on aprons below steep, cliffy terrain.
Weather: Gorgeous day. Calm, clear, mild temps.
Snowpack: Snow surfaces moistened and produced rollerballs and sluffs on steep southerlies. We triggered dry sluffs on shady aspects. We carefully chose slopes with deep, uniform coverage and saw no other signs of instability today. Tested basal weak layers on an east aspect near treeline (see photo/profile). The crust/facet combo near the ground (12/6 interface) still looks quite fragile and produced propagating results in a PST below a 155 cm hard slab. The 1/6 graupel layer also propagated across the entire block, about 30 cm deep, after the block initially collapsed on basal layers. Snow depth at valley bottom of OBJ creek at 9600′ is 155 cm.

Photos:

5235


Jan. 09, 2022

A few more deep slabs from the holiday cycle in Oh-Be-Joyful and Peeler Basin

Date of Observation: 01/09/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Scarp Ridge to Oh-Be-Joyful Peak, viewed from Schuykill Ridge

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: A few more that we missed from the helicopter, ran late in the cycle around 12/30 or 12/31.

Photos:

5233


Jan. 09, 2022

Stoke is High

Date of Observation: 01/09/2022
Name: Andrew Butterfield

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: SE end of the NW zone. Started at 9400′ and climbed to 11500′ on S, SW and SE aspects.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: A couple small loose wet tumblers below a few rock and cliff bands. Looked to be just the recent snow shedding off with solar warming. Nothing else to note.
Weather: Pleasant and sunny. No wind until I hit the ridge and wind on the ridge was light (5-10ish mph tops).
Snowpack: HS was hovering around 110 cm leaving the sled and tapered up to 140+ cm closer to the ridge. I didn’t pull my probe out to find exact snow depths near the top of the ridge. New snow depth varied from around 10 cm down low to 15+ cm up higher. Trail breaking was incredibly easy all the way up, supportive to skis and boot. Looked to be small drifts on more easterly aspects, in the usual cross-loaded terrain, and ski pen was marginally deeper on aspects that had an E tinge, but nothing substantial. The sun/ warm temps have already worked on the snowpack on the sunnies and continued to do so today. No signs of instability on anywhere I traveled in my tour. Looking across the valley, true westerly aspects ATL were pretty stripped and the cross-loaded gullies held the majority of snow on W facing terrain.

5232


Jan. 09, 2022

Kebler Pass skiin

Date of Observation: 01/09/2022
Name: Eric Murrow

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Anthracites

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: An unreported avalanche below treeline on a northeast-facing slope from near the middle portion of the Anthracites skin track. Did not inspect the crown, but it hammered the typical skin track breaking at least one tree, 5 inches in diameter, and toppling several others over. Crown looked around 4 – 5 feet thick. I suspect it ran towards the end of holiday storms around 12/30. This is the second time this winter that the Anthracite skin track has been impacted by a natural avalanche.

Small natural Wind Slab from 1/8 beneath a cornice in East Bowl.
Weather: Sunny skies and reasonable temperatures above the inversion. Light winds at ridge top.
Snowpack: I looked for buried surface hoar in several spots on north and northeast aspects and didn’t find it. Traveled through a northerly near treeline feature that often forms Wind Slabs and found only soft storm snow. No cracking in storm snow or signs of instability in terrain with snow depths well over 2 meters.  Southerly slopes below and near treeline became moist by the afternoon.

Photos:

5231


Jan. 09, 2022

Bed surface probing on Schuykill

Date of Observation: 01/09/2022
Name: Zach Guy and Jack Caprio

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Schuykill Ridge, NE to E aspects to 11,400 ft.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: A handful of small wind slabs on Peeler Peek ran naturally yesterday, D1 soft slabs. Added some more previously undocumented slides from the holiday cycle, details below, and took a closer look at some that we’ve already reported. Slides on Yogi’s snapped trees up to 12″ in diameter. We checked out one of the crowns in the Great Wide Open. The crown averaged about 5 to 6 feet thick, up to 15 feet where it connected to a cornice above it. In the deepest part of the crown, the failure layer was 2mm in size, pencil minus in hardness below a knife hard slab. At an average part of the crown, the failure layer was 2 to 3mm in size, 4F in hardness. The layer was right at the ground.
Weather: Beautiful day! Cold, calm, clear.
Snowpack: 6″ to 8″ of low-density new snow produced shallow sluffing in steep terrain, otherwise no signs of instability. Didn’t see surface hoar preserved below the new snow in a few hand pits, although the current low-density snow surface will surely facet over the next few days.
Probed into the start zone and upper track of a path that ran early in the holiday cycle, likely on 12/24, as well as on 12/10. I can feel the 12/6 layer still, but it is buried by a 200 cm slab now. I probed and dug hand pits in the start zones of several paths that ran late in the cycle (guessing 12/30 and 12/31). HS was 100 to 130 cm, and the slides went at the ground and completely wiped the 12/6 layer off the slope. The snowpack structure in those hand pits was just consolidated storm snow to the ground.

Photos:

5230


Jan. 09, 2022

Snodgrass

Date of Observation: 01/09/2022
Name: Andrew Breibart

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Snodgrass trailhead to weather station to East River road

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Two avalanches on E and SE aspects
Weather: cold in the shade and hot in the sun. clear. calm.
Snowpack: New snow was about 6 inches. At the drop in, HS ranged between 135 and 170 cm with facets at the bottom. A few slow moving sloughs in storm snow while skiing the lower 1/3 of the run in the trees.

Photos:

5229


Jan. 08, 2022

Washington Gulch

Date of Observation: 01/08/2022
Name: Evan Ross

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Washington Gulch, just before Coneys. NE 9,500-10,700ft.

Weather: Calm wind, mostly cloudy sky, Snowing throughout most of the day with several heavy pulses. The sun made its way through the clouds a few times with a bit of a greenhouse effect. 25cm of low-density new snow at 2:30 pm at 10,600ft. About 15cm of new snow on the shady side of the car back at the trailhead.

Snowpack: HS at 9,700ft was around 160cm, and increased to around 190cm at 10,600ft. The snowpack was deep everywhere we traveled and we observed no signs of instability. We dug one pit near our highpoint with a deep and progressively stronger snowpack over 15cm of 3-4mm faceted grains that were 4F hard. No SH under the new snow at that location. No CT results in the upper 100cm of the snowpack.

We chose to avoid one steep slope in the upper 30-degree range where a trained eye could see that there had been past avalanche activity. No crown visible, but snow piled on the uphill sides of the trees below.

5228


Jan. 08, 2022

Emmons Storm Day

Date of Observation: 01/08/2022
Name: Eric Murrow

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Standard up-track on Mount Emmons to summit. Descended glades to the gravel pit.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: none
Weather: Light to moderate snowfall from 11 – 130. Around 130 precip rates increased noticeably to the S2-S3 range. New snow accumulations ~8 inches at 11,500′ around 230 (I expect several more inches accumulated after I left). Winds remained light with some moderate gusts below treeline, but above treeline westerly winds increased to moderate speeds with a few strong gusts. Observed drifting snow above treeline.
Snowpack: Above treeline westerly winds drifted snow into soft slabs on east and southeast features. I was able to find drifts up to 18″ thick immediately below small cornices and I was able to produce cracking up to 15 feet. Visibility was extremely poor so I wasn’t able to decipher how extensive drifting was further downslope.  Near treeline features in this area revealed far less drifting than above treeline.

Photos:

5227


Jan. 08, 2022

RMBL Study Plot

Date of Observation: 01/08/2022
Name: Benjamin Schmatz

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: N/A

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches:
Weather:
Snowpack:

Photos:

5226


Jan. 08, 2022

A few fresh on crust in the glades…

Date of Observation: 01/08/2022

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Kebler TH to the gravel pit. Climbed to the upper meadows on Red Lady glades (9,400-11,100 feet; SSE aspect).

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches:
Weather: Upper 20’s and snowing. Steady SSW breeze, maybe 10mph. Snow vacillated between big, fluffy flakes and rimed snow.
Snowpack: Stout, supportable crust under 8-10 cm of new snow. A little better than “dust on crust,” but definitely didn’t need my 116mm skis.

5225


Jan. 08, 2022

SE Mountains 10-11k ft

Date of Observation: 01/07/2022
Name: Frank Stern

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Washington Gulch, 10,000′ to 11,000′

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: No recent avalanches.
Weather: Sunny
Snowpack: Wind effected everywhere except dense trees. No collapsing or other movement.

5224


Jan. 07, 2022

Shallow area obs

Date of Observation: 01/07/2022
Name: Eric Murrow

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Snodgrass TH down to East River

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: nothing new observed
Weather: Clear skies, light winds at my below treeline elevation, and mild air temperatures. I observed some drifting above treeline on Whetstone, Whiterock, and Bellview during the day.
Snowpack: I traveled through an area that is generally fairly shallow compared to the rest of the forecast area looking for signs of instability and test basal weak layers near the ground. Snow depth was around 135cm in locations free of drifting and scouring. No signs of instability underfoot. East slopes in this area had no pre-December facets at the ground…weak depth hoar, 10cm-ish thick, was present on northeast and north. Depth hoar appears to be rounding but remains relatively weak compared to the slab above (see profile). Surface Hoar, 3-5mm in size, is developing on the north through east slopes.

Photos:

5223


Jan. 07, 2022

Cement Creek

Date of Observation: 01/07/2022
Name: Evan Ross

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Cement Creek. Various aspects between 9,000ft and 11,600ft.

Observed avalanche activity: No
Avalanches: No new avalanches and taking a moment to look around from Double Top Ridge I didn’t see anything obvious jumping out.

Weather: Few clouds, warm, calm.

Snowpack: The snowpack is very set up and supportive. Big settlement cones on the aspens. Boot pen about 20 to 30cm on most slopes. Closer to 45cm on shaded northerly facing slopes. The sun and temps were doing their thing with lots of thick and/or moist snow surfaces. Found surface hoar down in the valleys and all the way up to double top ridge. It seemed to survive on many of the east aspects and of course on the northerly aspects. West was moist in the afternoon and SH had melted away.

Of course no obvious signs of instability. No collapses or cracking. Heavy snowmobiles jumping around. Didn’t pull out the probe, but HS based off the exposed signposts looked around 140cm. For the most part, where we traveled the snowpack had an even depth. I wonder if we would have observed signs of instability if we could have traveled, the same way, in steep cliffy terrain with a more variable snowpack depth.

Lots of wind effects and wind erosion in the alpine.

Photos:

5222


Jan. 07, 2022

Unnerving structure in a frequent flyer

Date of Observation: 01/07/2022
Name: Zach Guy and Jack Caprio

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Mt. Emmons, NE aspect

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: A couple of small wet loose slides on SW aspects NTL this afternoon.
Weather: Mostly clear, mild temps, calm winds.
Snowpack: 1 to 3 mm surface hoar growth in wind-sheltered, shady aspects, including start zones NTL.
Dug a hasty pit on belay on a slope that we know avalanched on 12/10 and again on 12/24. The structure still looks surprisingly lousy. The 12/6 depth hoar layer (3mm, fist hard) is still present: it is cohesionless and shows little evidence of rounding below a 100 cm hard slab – a concerning depth for triggering. I got propagating results after about 35 hits.
The structure caused us to change to a plan B descent route. Previous avalanche activity on that slope was not obvious to the untrained eye. The best indicator was snow depth: HS in the flats was 200 – 220 cm, and HS in the start zone was 100 cm. This observation gives me some concern for similar types of slopes such as Schuykill Ridge or Snodgrass that likely saw activity on 12/10 and again on 12/24. We dug about 10 feet below the old 12/24 crown; unsure how the structure changes further downslope.

Photos:

5221


Jan. 07, 2022

Rustler Gulch avalanches from the holiday cycle

Date of Observation: 01/02/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Rustler’s Gulch area (Mt. Bellview, etc)

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Filling in the database with a few more from the 12/31 cycle.

Photos:

5220


Jan. 06, 2022

Mt Axtell

Date of Observation: 01/06/2022
Name: Evan Ross Zach Guy #jackisback

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Mt Axtell. North. 11,300-9,500.

Avalanches: In 1st bowl. A D3 or very large avalanche had propagated wall to wall across the start zone in 1st bowl during the last round of natural avalanche cycles. This avalanche either broke or limbed the small trees as it ran for about 60% of the defined avalanche path.

In 2nd Bowl. A very large avalanche ran to the historic trim line of the avalanche path. There appeared to be a few mature trees taken out near the historic trim line but the avalanche path wasn’t extended.

The avalanche debris below the shield also took out some older trees and a section of aspen forest.

Weather: Mostly Cloudy, S-1 in the morning tapered off. Very little snow accumulation.

Snowpack: A few inches of very dense rimed new snow had accumulated. Ski pen was in the 10 to 15cm range. 1st Bowl had anywhere from 0 to 3 feet of snow on the old bed surfaces and avalanche debris. In one location just below the crown, there was a 60cm slab that had been rebuilt over on the old bed surface and 30cm’s of well-developed faceted grains. I’d suspect that those remaining facets were better cleaned out below that location. We found no signs of instability throughout the tour.

Photos:

5219


Jan. 06, 2022

Gothic 7am Weather Report

Date of Observation: 01/06/2022
Name: billy barr

Zone: Southeast Mountains

Weather: Mostly just a lot of noise with steady, strong wind moving snow around but limited new snowfall with 2″ new and water 0.21″. Wind 10-15 NW and gusts up to 35. The snowpack is at 50″. Cloud cover is obscured and it stayed quite warm overnight with the low 25ºF while the current is the high of 27ºF. All tracks are blown in once again and slides from wind loading are possible.

5218


Jan. 06, 2022

A few more avalanches from the Southeast Mountains-Holiday cycle

Date of Observation: 01/06/2022
Name: Zach Kinler

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Helicopter

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches:
Weather:
Snowpack:

 

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5217


Jan. 05, 2022

Washington Gulch Check

Date of Observation: 01/05/2022
Name: Evan Ross

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Primarily Elkton and Baldy Area

Observed avalanche activity: No
Weather: Bit breezy eh. Obscured sky and strong westerly wind. Mostly S-1 and light snowfall. Heavier rimed precip was accumulating as I headed out in the early afternoon.
Snowpack: Hard to measure new snow given all the wind. In a fairly sheltered area at 11,000ft, there was about 6″ new at 1pm. The new snow was very light and mostly getting blown away. I was able to find a couple of small test slopes where the new snow would produce some shooting cracks and holding up as a fresh wind slab. Otherwise, the snow has already been redistributed from the winds with old hard drifts having previously formed. More forecasted snow will provide more fuel for new wind slab development. It was real blustery out there at near and above treeline elevations and managing wind drifted snow was still one of the main concerns.

5216


Jan. 05, 2022

Natural wind slab Anthracites: Friendly Finnish

Date of Observation: 01/05/2022
Name: Turner Petersen Grace von Mett

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Normal anthracites skin track. Skied sevens.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Natural wind slab breaking 4” thick probably running 50 feet and propagated probably 30 feet. On friendly Finnish. NNE.
Weather: Windy. Stormy.
Snowpack: Deep.

5215


Jan. 05, 2022

Deep slab video

Date of Observation: 01/03/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Mt. Richmond


5214


Jan. 05, 2022

Carbon north side avy from Holiday cycle

Date of Observation: 01/05/2022
Name: Hotline Observation

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Carbon Peak adjacent to Splains Gulch area

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Natural avalanche from Holiday Cycle on the north side of Carbon.

Photos:

5213


Jan. 05, 2022

Few more natural slides from Holiday Cycle in Ruby Range

Date of Observation: 01/05/2022
Name: Eric Murrow

 

 

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Viewed from Mount Baldy on 1/3

 

 

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: A couple of natural avalanches from Holiday cycle in the Ruby Range that remained hidden from the flight crew.
Weather:
Snowpack:

Photos:

5212


Jan. 05, 2022

More Copper Creek to Cumberland Avalanches

Date of Observation: 01/05/2022
Name: Zach Kinler

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Helicopter

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches:
Weather:
Snowpack:

 

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5211


Jan. 05, 2022

Copper Creek to Cumberland Basin

Date of Observation: 01/05/2022
Name: Zach Kinler

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Helicopter

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Documenting the recent avalanche cycle of large to very large avalanches estimated to have run around 12/31. Most were on leeward and shady slopes ATL with a few on West aspects.
Weather:
Snowpack:

 

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5210


Jan. 05, 2022

Irwin explosive triggered avalanche

Date of Observation: 01/05/2022

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Irwin Tenure

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Avalanche observations: Ski Hero’s HS reactive to a single 3 # hand charge. Failed on 2-3mm DH on top of a 1F
crust. 10 cm above the ground.
HS-AE-R3-D2.5-O FC (130cm x 100m x 350m) Failed on late Oct snow

Photos:

5209