Avalanche: Patsy Marly

Observer Name
Robert W
Observation Date
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Avalanche Date
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Region
Patsy Marly
Location Name or Route
Patsy Marley Ridgeline
Elevation
9,700'
Aspect
North
Trigger
Skier
Depth
10"
Width
10'
Comments
 
Red Flags
-Cornicing
-Wind Loading + Rounding
 
Today my tour partner and I set out to head up Patsy Marley’s west facing ridge line. We got up the initial foothill onto the ridge, but soon after finishing our switchbacks we observed major cornicing and rounding.
 
We had decided not to travel the ridge any farther and just ski a couple of shorter runs off the beginning of the ridge line. We had seen another group who also skied the same zone. Upon getting up to the ridge for our third run I saw a skier’s track continue past where we had gone. I then looked up and saw a soft snow slab slide on the leeward side of a cornice, which was triggered by a skier dropping in here. We saw the skier’s tracks exiting.
 
We were dropping in at about 27 degrees, and this slope was a bit steeper, but I do not want to guess at a degree as I did not feel comfortable traveling near these cornices to get a closer look. I would guess this slab was about 10-12” of soft snow.
 
We did observe a pit today which did not have any layers stand out in our density test, but we did not do any compression tests. Overall I was amazed with the cornicing and rounding that occurred on Patsy Marley ridge from this past storm. We believed the ridge line would be difficult to navigate safely with the current cornicing and wind loading.

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