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Observation: Murdock Peak

Observation Date
11/30/2019
Observer Name
Paradis / Brackelsberg
Region
Salt Lake » Park City Ridgeline » Murdock Peak
Location Name or Route
Murdock Peak
Weather
Sky
Scattered
Precipitation
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Light snow on and off during the day today. Winds were not that bad on the approach but were pretty strong along the Park City Ridgeline. Loading was still in progress.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
20"
New Snow Density
Low
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments
Difficult trail breaking. Mostly low density out of the wind and not very slabby so main challenge was volume of snow. Different story in the wind. The dense snow and deep drifts would result in pockets that would nearly swallow a skier..
Skiing conditions much better start that in many years, however, not quite enough cover for all the deadfall.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Loading
Cracking
Collapsing
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Almost all boxes checked today. About 3 feet of new snow with plenty of wind over faceted snow from before the storm is the classic recipe for avalanches. In addition to recent natural avalanches, collapsing and cracking was pretty obvious. In some places the slope would collapse after you had been standing there for a while. To me, that seems to say something about persistent weak layers - they are a unpredictable and can show no obvious instability until you are well out on the slope.
Avalanche Problem #1
Problem
Persistent Weak Layer
Trend
Decreasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
Today, the persistent weak layer was facets that formed just prior to this large storm. These were still well in the range that could be triggered by a person so have the potential to be very dangerous. I selected decreasing danger but I wouldn't expect that to change very quickly. These will be around for some time.
Avalanche Problem #2
Problem
Wind Drifted Snow
Problem #2 Comments
Strong winds from the SW had over loaded several slopes around the Murdock ridgeline. These were all pretty recent so may have been naturally triggered by wind and snow from the front that arrived last night.
Snow Profile
Aspect
North
Elevation
8,900'
Slope Angle
22°
Video
See separate avalanche records for more detail re: avalanches noted on Murdock.
Also of note, Sheep Shit Ridge and Little Water both appear to have avalanched. We were too far away to determine the cause but the aspect and elevation is similar to Murdock.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable
Coordinates

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