Touchy Conditions on Mt. Baldy

CB Avalanche Center 2015-16 Observations

Location: Paradise Divide Area
Date of Observation: 11/05/2015
Name: Zach Guy
Subject: Touchy Conditions on Mt. Baldy
Aspect: North East, South East
Elevation: 10,000 – 11,700 feet

Avalanches: Skier triggered one soft slab on a NE feature above treeline that failed on the storm interface about 15″ deep, on faceted snow. Small in destructive size. SS-ASc-R1-D1-I. See photo.
Weather: Light snowfall continued all day, with pulses of moderate snowfall. Calm winds. Overcast skies.
Snowpack: Storm snow depths increased from 10″ at 10,000 ft to 20″ at 11,700 ft in a NE facing bowl. Fist hardness and right-side up, but cohesive enough to form a soft slab. No signs of instability where the storm snow fell on dirt. At 11,300 ft, we first encountered old snow layers at the bottom (1mm facets), and immediately began seeing shooting cracks (~5 feet in length) and getting soft collapses. When we ventured to SE facing slopes which held melt-freeze crusts at the bottom of the snowpack, we did not see any signs of instability, and the new snow appeared to be bonded well to the storm interface. No signs of significant wind transport, but we stayed low in the bowl and avoided the higher, potentially wind-loaded ridgelines.