Observation: Cardiac Bowl

Observation Date
11/1/2019
Observer Name
Peter Donner
Region
Salt Lake
Location Name or Route
Cardiac Bowl/Ridge
Red Flags
Red Flags
Poor Snowpack Structure
Comments
This is an update to my ob from yesterday, Thursday 10/31, from the Cardiac area.
Went back to Cardiac to compare and contrast the difference 24 hours makes.
First difference was the traversing skinner from Cardiff Pass under the Cardiff Peak cliff band was filled with 1 finger hard wind blown. The skinner had actually disappeared in spots. Germ Pass station reported winds gusting to 40 mph at 4am 11/1, with hourly averages of 20 from 1am to 6am. So the winds were at work.
Second difference was failure plane in columns. Isolated two columns, 1 under the Cardiff Peak cliff bands and 2 on the traverse under LSB to Cardiac Bowl. Both failed on the 10/27 layer, as opposed to the 10/18 layer. Column 2 under LSB was 20 feet away from the column that failed on the 10/18 layer yesterday, Thursday 10/31. Thought about doing another column at the top of Cardiac Bowl where I pushed my skinner up beyond the top of my run from Thursday 10/31, but the snow was only 1 foot deep. Was a bit stunned, the depth of the snow declined from about 30 inches at one spot in the top of Cardiac Bowl to 12 inches in another spot 50 feet away. Was thinking the upper bowl had a relatively deep pack, but evidently not.
My tracks from Thursday in upper Cardiac Bowl were still clearly visible but by Friday had disappeared under wind blown in the lower bowl. There was less wind effect on Cardiac Ridge.
Don’t really give much weight to the fact columns were failing on the 10/18 layer on Thursday 10/31, overnight the winds blew, then columns failed on the 10/27 layer on Friday 11/1. Was curious whether facets would be developing on the surface, but the winds stopped that process almost everywhere. There was some faceting in lower sheltered zones, such as creek bottoms, but nothing dramatic.
My bottom line is the snowpack is shallow and variable. For the immediate future, it is safe in terms of avalanches even if the structure is puzzling. Given the winds, hard slabs in radical terrain could be a concern for the more adventurous. People who’s primary motive is skiing powder have little to worry about in terms of avalanches. Avalanche hazard seems basically low. Hazard from rocks and logs will be high until we get more storms.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Low
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Low

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