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Avalanche: Key hole

Observer Name
mark white
Observation Date
Friday, April 12, 2019
Avalanche Date
Friday, April 12, 2019
Region
Key hole
Location Name or Route
Keyhole, Cardiff Fork
Elevation
10,300'
Aspect
North
Slope Angle
40°
Trigger
Skier
Trigger: additional info
Intentionally Triggered
Avalanche Type
Soft Slab
Avalanche Problem
New Snow
Weak Layer
New Snow/Old Snow Interface
Depth
18"
Width
60'
Vertical
400'
Comments
I triggered this avalanche with a ski cut but I almost blew it. While dropping into the N facing Keyhole entry into Cardiff Fork I made a small ski cut in the corner of the entry chute that produced a slow moving sluff, I was thinking of just diving in and skiing it fast to avoid sluffing out the whole chute and having to ski the bed surface, but I came to my senses and decided to ski cut the entire chute before skiing. This ski cut initiated a wind slab avalanche that propagated across the whole chute and into the trees. The slide ran on the old hard bed surface from before the 40 plus inches of new snow we got this week. The crown was 2 feet at the deepest part but averaged around 18 inches and had a obvious staunch wall 300ft down. In retrospect I realized that the steep chute had been cross loaded by the NW winds and if I would’ve just dived in I would have taken the ride, not getting buried but most likely gathering up my gear and feeling dumb. It was a good reminder that it’s not over until it’s over. 

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