Observation: Cutler Ridge

Observation Date
Observer Name
Derek DeBruin
Location Name or Route
Ben Lomond, Cutler Ridge
Light Snowfall
Wind Speed
Weather Comments
18F at the trailhead around 0615 this morning under partly to mostly cloudy skies with little or no wind. Around 0845 at approximately 7500ft, trace snow began to fall, turning to S1. By 0930 at the start of our descent, rimed stellars were falling from the sky at S2 to S3 intensity. Snowfall intensity decreased with elevation, but was still spitting and flurrying back at the trailhead.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
New Snow Density
Snow Surface Conditions
Snow Characteristics Comments
So. Much. Powder. Snowpack was rightside up, with plenty of terrain open for steep and deep turns. Existing surface snow is very low density, with more falling as I write this.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Heavy Snowfall
Red Flags Comments
Definitely plenty of new snow, but on top of a very stable snowpack. Loose/sluffing was a small concern, but generally conditions were quite good. Did not note any natural avalanches at higher elevations. Characteristic mid- and upper-elevation winds were largely absent.
Snow Profile
Slope Angle
Dug a quick pit at the top of Dead Tree Knob. F- surface snow for 25cm (upper red line) with a fairly cohesive 50cm underneath gradually increasing from F to 4F hardness. Remaining 25cm of basal snow (lower red line) was 1F hardness. Classic rightside up snowpack in great shape. This pit was 100cm of snow to the ground, with 100cm +/- 15cm throughout the zone from the LZ to Dead Tree. Observed very little wind effect, even at 8,000ft and above. The top of Dead Tree is usually pretty buffed and/or scoured, and while there was limited evidence of wind, it was pretty minor and far less than normal. Up high cornices were visible but small, and certainly not as large as they might normally be on the higher reaches of Ben Lomond (though it is only early December). Noted no natural avalanches on the Cutler Basin/Willard headwall or elsewhere (see photo; these were visible to us for a few minutes until the precip moved in and reduced visibility, leading to this less useful photo).
An idea of the coverage on Indicator Hill. Filling in nicely, even at this relatively low elevation. Those new to the Ogden/Cutler Ridge zone will note the large rock (circled) mid-run. Early season this is visible, and later season is usually nicely covered. In the near future a light covering on this will pose a potential hazard to the unaware.
A look at the cover on Rodeo Ridge and Bailey's. Also looking quite good at the moment.
A view of the Backyard above the creek/luge exit. The upper portions of this and Bull Nose/Birthday Bowls look good, but the lower portions are still brushy and bony enough that we elected not to use them as our exit.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating

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