Avalanche: Little Superior

Observer Name
Observation Date
Friday, April 28, 2017
Avalanche Date
Friday, April 28, 2017
Little Superior
Location Name or Route
Little Superior skier's right
Trigger: additional info
Unintentionally Triggered
Avalanche Type
Soft Slab
Avalanche Problem
Wind Drifted Snow
Weak Layer
Density Change
I was a couple hundred feet down from the summit of Little Superior this morning when I triggered a ~60 foot wide, ~1 foot deep windslab in a subtle cup shaped terrain feature. I was skiing fast and close to the shoulder this shot descends along, and I was turning back toward the ridge when I saw the slab fracture out to my right, and I fell onto my hip to grab the bed surface as blocks of snow washed around me into the gully below. The slide ran down the slope to the lower angled terrain below the upper faces and left a size 2 debris pile. I left one ski either up on the slope or in the debris pile. I did not remain on the slope to investigate the weak layer, take pictures, or generally take stock of the event, and although there was good visibility at the time of the event, the slope was obscured for the remainder of the day and so I was not able to look up to get another view of what happened. Little Superior SE facing was obviously not a good choice on a morning after several days of snow of variable densities, NW wind, and avalanches. I did push some snow down off the summit of Little Superior, which ran harmlessly a hundred feet or so and provided a very faint false positive. I skied several runs yesterday on S facing Alta and did not observe any instability, and yesterday's Cardiff Bowl slide was not visible on the ascent. I assumed that the previous day's instability had settled out, which in hindsight was not a well founded assumption given the overnight conditions, and which is arguably not something one ought ever to just "assume." I ski in the hellgate/superior zone frequently and generally in S facing LCC terrain quite a lot, and although I firmly acknowledge that the terrain west of Cardiff Peak is substantially more complex and exposed than the terrain btw Cardiff and Grizzly (not that the rest of it is at all benign), I have sometimes allowed my sense of when it should be left alone to be subordinate to my jonesing for those more appetizing fall lines.

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