Avalanche: Cutler Ridge

Observer Name
Kory Davis and Doug Wewer
Observation Date
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Occurrence Date
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Occurence Time


Location Name or Route
Cutler Ridge - Near Weather Station
Slope Angle
Weak Layer
Depth Hoar

So, I'm honestly not exactly sure what is going on with this slide.  Bill Brandt reported the slide just a few hundred feet to the East of this slide, on nearly the same aspect, elevation and slope angle.  I'm not sure if this "West' slide was sympathetic to the "East" slide, or if it happened independently.

Regardless of the trigger, the "West" slide is significant just due to how rare it is for this slope to slide.  The 1F hard slab pulled out to the ground, leaving huge refrigerator sized chunks littered across the slope.  This slope is just a hundred yards or so due south of the weather station on a northerly, treed slope.

The crown averaged 4 feet but was up nearly 6 feet in some spots.  It failed just 6-10" above the ground on basal facets/depth hoar.  It appears that the failure layer was just above or below a very thin rime crust (date of crust unknown).  

Slope angle was mostly 32-34 degrees along the starting zone, but did have a small area as steep as 40 degrees.  There was lots of crevasse-like cracking on the adjacent lower angle terrain.  This is not a slope that I would typically expect to see an avalanche on, much less one this deep sliding to the ground.  It really got our attention.


This is the "East" slide, reported by Bill Brandt on 2/9.  It is just a couple hundred feet from the other "West" slide.  It is much bigger than the "West" slide.  This slide is also significant in my opinion as it moved an enormous amount of snow, snapped some trees and pasted snow on the uphill side of the trees another 6-8 feet above the top of the debris.

I thought it was somewhat interesting that these two slides did not connect together.  The snow left in between them is of the same aspect and slope angle.  The only thing anchoring this piece of snow in place may be the closely spaced trees.