Observation: Gold Basin

Observation Date
Observer Name
Garcia, Robertson
Moab » Gold Basin
Location Name or Route
Gold Basin
Weather Comments
Sunny, calm, and warm. Temps at 10,000 ft hovering right around the freezing point.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Dense Loose
Snow Characteristics Comments
There's still cold, medium density powder in the trees. Solar aspects today were getting nuked. The snow on S and W aspects was heavy. Major gloping at low elevations. Sunshine and warm temps are contributing to slab formation.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Rapid Warming
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
We triggered one small avalanche on a W aspect around 10,600 (see the avalanche observation for more details). We had three collapses in treed areas on west aspects as we were exiting Gold Basin from Gold Miners. Between 9 AM and 1 PM the temperature rose from 10.4 F to 33.1 F. We observed buried facets in a snow pit on a WSW aspect at 11,250 ft.
Avalanche Problem #1
Persistent Weak Layer
Problem #1 Comments
The latest storm has buried near surface facets beneath 30 inches of snow which has now settled out to around 18 inches. Recent observations have shown this buried weak layer to be very reactive on shady slopes facing north and east. Our travels today revealed this buried weak layer also exists on W facing slopes. A snow pit on a WSW at 11,250 ft revealed a poor snow pack structure and produced an ECTP 11 on small grained facets beneath a pencil hard crust 40 cm below the surface. We decided not to ski this slope and moved over to a south aspect. No buried facets found on the southerly slopes. The new snow here is sitting on a hard, uneven, and somewhat rough surface. The snow here is well bonded. On the ski out we crossed more W facing slopes. We triggered a small avalanche while skiing a steep rollover. We experienced three collapses in shady spots on the ski out. All of this is in agreement with what has been reported over the last couple days. The buried weak layer is more reactive at low and mid elevations than it is at high elevations (at least on the westerlies). Sheltered spots are more likely to harbor this buried weak layer. The trigger point for the avalanche was right on the edge of the trees in the shade, while the sunny slope 50 feet away was not reactive.
Photo 1 is the avalanche from below
Photo 2 is the crown
Photo 3 shows rapid warming and bad snow gloping on a ski with no skins on
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating