Weak surfaces on shady terrain and Loose Dry avalanches

CBAC CBAC Observations

Date of Observation: 01/28/2022
Name: Eric Murrow

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Standard Axtel skin track up to treeline and descend 2nd Bowl

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: I was able to easily skier trigger small Loose Dry avalanches on sheltered northerly terrain. Most remained in the D1 range, but a few features reached D1.5. The larger Loose avalanches came on longer running slopes where the snow was able to entrain more mass and on the very weak snowpack in 2nd Bowl (previously avalanched at the ground around 12/31).
Observed small natural avalanches on a drifted, east slope of Coon Basin on Mount Emmons, and leeward, northeast terrain on Whetstone’s M-Face. Visibility was too poor to tell if these were shallow Wind Slabs or Loose Dry avalanches.
Weather: Mostly cloudy skies produced around 1 inch of snow by 230pm and skies cleared by sunset.
Snowpack: I traveled on northerly terrain from 9,400 to 11, 600 feet. Sheltered terrain with a deeper snowpack, around 3 feet or more, has up to about 8 inches of weak surface snow for Loose Dry avalanches. In 2nd Bowl, where the snowpack is shallow and weak from a previous very large avalanche, I was able to trigger sluffs that entrained much of the meager snowpack. Facets on this bed surface are well-developed 1-1.5mm in size. The terrain I moved through helped to confine the moving snow and prevented it from gaining much mass. The skiing in 2nd Bowl was fairly unsupportive and poor in the upper portions of the bowl.

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