Observation: North Creek - Abajo Mtns.

Observation Date
3/15/2019
Observer Name
Mark Staples
Region
Abajos
Location Name or Route
North Creek Pass and Cooley Pass
Comments
The March 12/13 storm snow has settled to about a foot and a half of powder. The storm was warm and wet for part of it. Below about 9700 feet there was a wet layer of snow that is an ice crust now capped by four inches or so of light snow. See photo below
We rode up North Creek. However, we were a little nervous riding under some of the avalanche paths. We didn't think that we would trigger any avalanches from below, but due to the recent load of new snow and the uncertainty - we rode one at a time between islands or safety. We quickly passed under each path with out stopping. 
Near North Creek pass on a SE facing slope, we found over 7 feet of snow on the ground. We assessed the layers in the upper 3-4 feet and found good stability in these layers (all ECTN). The main concern was weak layers near the ground.
On a north aspect at 10k feet in Indian Creek, we found over 11 feet of snow on the ground (video below)
Video
We descended into the headwaters of Indian Creek and found the only avalanche of the day. It happened a day or two ago and only involved the new snow and was maybe 2 feet deep. Otherwise we were surprised by the lack of avalanche activity. Some of the big north facing paths above Indian Creek had not pulled out. There was evidence of significant winds but no avalanches. 
Third photo shows the big north facing paths. Thanks to Kevin Dressel for showing me around.
We did find a weak layer on a north facing slope buried about 2 1/2 feet deep just under the new snow. It likely formed during clear cold weather on the weekend of March 9th/10th
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Coordinates

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