Avalanche: Cardiff Fork

Observer Name
cody hughes
Observation Date
Friday, November 30, 2018
Avalanche Date
Friday, November 30, 2018
Region
Cardiff Fork
Location Name or Route
Cardiff Fork
Elevation
10500
Aspect
Northeast
Slope Angle
35
Trigger
Skier
Trigger: additional info
Unintentionally Triggered
Avalanche Type
Soft Slab
Avalanche Problem
Persistent Weak Layer
Weak Layer
Facets
Depth
2'
Width
40
Vertical
150
Comments
My party of three skied a couple laps south facing in upper LCC. We then had 1 more join us midday and with visibility getting poor, we decided to go seek shelter in the low angle trees on powerline ridge in cardiff fork of BCC. To get to that area you must cross a section of steep NE facing terrain around 10500ft. We discussed our plan and felt that we could manage our terrain there by staying very high on the avalanche path and practicing safe travel protocols across the slope. We have all visited the area a lot over the course of every winter and chose an alternate route across the slope to minimize our exposure. We understood that the area was thin and rocky and on the leeward side with the recent wind direction and we would very likely trigger an avalanche there but being high on the avalanche path and in downhill ski mode we felt as we could manage that terrain. The first person went across the slope and got to the ridge. The second skier on slope got to the ridge and when he did he hit the sweet spot and collapsed the slope. The avalanche propagated behind him and up the slope 20 ft and across the slope 40ft. The avalanche ran 150ft or so and was size D1. SS-A-S-R2-D1-O It is important to note that although I put this avalanche as unintentionally triggered we did expect this result to happen but understood that we would be high on the path with speed to get to the ridge and only 1 person exposed at a time. Our intention was not to trigger the avalanche but to scoot across high on the slope to get to the low angle terrain that we would be safely skiing for the remainder of the day. No one caught or carried. As the first skier stepped over the ridge in a safe, low angle area out of harms way he remotely triggered an avalanche behind him 30 ft up the slope that failed on facets around the rocks and propagated 40-50ft across. Needless to say it was very touchy out there especially on the leeward side of slopes where dense snow and heavy winds were overloading and quickly stressing the PWL's near the ground. Lots of collapsing noted in low angle north facing terrain. Our ascent route back up to the ridge was across the bed surface and then we boot packed up loose rocks and facets to avoid being exposed to the avalanche danger where the normal skin track goes.

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