Observation: Mary Ellen

Observation Date
01/30/2018
Observer Name
B

Region:

Location Name or Route
Mary Ellen Gulch
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Early morning mostly clear skies gave way to overcast and thick cloud cover by mid day. Tempertures rose rapidly during the hours of direct solar, and then back off and descended in the afternoon at upper elevations. Winds were strong on the upper ridgelines and moderate in the more protected upper bowls. Transport and or wind blown was strong in the most exposed areas just off the ridgelines.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Dense Loose
Faceted Loose
Wind Crust
Melt-Freeze Crust
Rain-Rime Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments

The snow surface conditions continue to degrade and become more variable every day. And as a result the riding conditions become more challenging. Dense settled powder was able to be found in isolated places, but runs of consistent friendly turning conditions were difficult to find in the upper and mid elevation exposed terrain of Mary Ellen. Of note, the conditions appeared to be improving as they began to soften around 1100 hours, but once the cloud cover moved in things changed for the worse as the snow surface began to refreeze. 

Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
See above for wind loading explaination; and it was likely that slabs were developing on the NE and E upper elevation starting zones. Poor snowpack structure observed in multiple pit locations in near by vacinities; and the basal facets that have been of concern throughout the range appear to be in place in this locale as well. Of note, wet loose activity on the upper elevation southerly facing aspects was held to a minimun today with the cloud cover coming in by mid day.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments

No red flags observed besides the wind loading, but as described above, the structure is suspect, and confidence remains low for safely attacking steep shady aspects

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments

See above, and it appears that these westerly and southwesterly winds are not abating at 2100 hours. As a result, this hazard may continue to increase tonight and into Wednesday in the previously cited upper elevation terrain. 

Danger continues to be a low probability/high consequence Moderate in the persistent slab regions, NW, N, NE, and E. 

Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates