Observation: Cutler Ridge

Observation Date
01/31/2018
Observer Name
Pagnucco, Davis

Region:

Location Name or Route
Cutler Ridge
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Wind Direction
West
Wind Speed
Light
Snow Characteristics
Snow Characteristics Comments

Snow surface was highly variable depending on elevation and aspect. Surprised to still find some "soft" snow on sheltered N facing slopes above 7200' but even those slopes had wind-affected areas. With warming daytime temps and no overnight refreeze the snow got moist and, where it was packed down, almost corn-like. 

Red Flags
Red Flags
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
No red flags except poor snowpack structure. CT failed on isolation while ECT failed, propagated, and had Q1 only after 30 taps plus 2 boot stomps. (see video).
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Problem #1 Comments

The STOUT, pencil hard, 6-8" thick rain crust that exists only about 6 inches down is so thick and strong, it's getting difficult for a skier to trigger a persistent slab on the very weak facets that exist well below the STOUT crust and above the glacial layer (which should just be considered the ground at this point).

Comments

Photos of snow coverage on Ben Lomond. The east/north sides have way better snow coverage.

The rain crust sitting under the "new" snow is unbelievable hard and thick. 

Had failure upon isolation cutting out a CT. 

Video - ECTP 30 taps + 2 boot stomps Q1. Unorthodox I know but it's amazing how much energy it takes to cause the failure as well as how much energy it fails with. Just showing that the facets are still weak and there is a slab on top. 

Conflicting test results make me choose lower angle terrain. 

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