Observation: Red Pine Gulch

Observation Date
2/10/2019
Observer Name
Gagne/Duvernay
Region
Salt Lake
Location Name or Route
Red Pine / Maybird
Weather
Sky
Obscured
Precipitation
Moderate Snowfall
Wind Direction
South
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
Winds never got down into mid elevation terrain. We got as high as 9500' and noted no wind affect in White Pine, Red Pine, or Maybird. Periods of heavy snowfall in the afternoon, switching to mostly graupel by about 2 pm.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
8"
New Snow Density
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments
Roughly 20 cms new snow since overnight.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Loading
Poor Snowpack Structure
Avalanche Problem #1
Problem
New Snow
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
Was finding 20 cms of new snow to have poor bond with old snow surface. Photo and video of shovel tilt test. (This is a useful test for determining how new storm snow bonds to the old snow surface.)
Am guessing this poor bond may be reactive to additional loading with the Sunday evening storm snow.
Avalanche Problem #2
Problem
Wind Drifted Snow
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments
Although we did not encounter any recent wind-drifted snow today (admittedly we were trying to avoid it!), there has been consistent southerly winds over the past several days creating sensitive drifts and cornices in wind-affected terrain. Other observers have noted wind getting down into mid elevation terrain, and we also noted cross-loading in upper Maybird Gulch well down off of ridgelines. There is plenty of loose snow available for transport!
Comments
Biggest concern is recent wind drifts, some of which may now be buried by Sunday storm snow. We were not in wind-affected terrain today, but did spend the time digging down to the old snow surface prior to the onset of snow on Saturday Feb 3. On Monday Feb 5 I was finding the preserved facets and surface hoar at the old snow surface to be quite reactive to stability tests. This faceted layer is now down 60-100 cms. However, over the past 6 days, the faceted layer is gaining strength, and stability tests on Friday in Mineral Fork and today in Red Pine/Maybird were at best ECTN (no propagation with extended column), mostly failing within recent storm snow, or occasionally at faceted layer. Video below is discussion of snowpack at 9400' in Red Pine Gulch.
Avalanche danger was Moderate where we were traveling today - wind-sheltered mid elevations. But Considerable in upper elevations as well as mid elevations that have been wind-loaded. If storm comes in on high end of forecast (in excess of 30 cms/12") with wind, easy to see hazard as High on Monday.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
High

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