Observation: Gold Basin

Observation Date
Observer Name
Moab » Gold Basin
Location Name or Route
Gold Basin
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
Wind Speed
Weather Comments
Few clouds for most of the day with lots of sunshine. Cloud cover slowly built to broken, and very light snow flurries (no accumulation) started falling as I skied to my truck around 3:30.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Dense Loose
Wind Crust
Melt-Freeze Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments
Breakable MF crusts on solar aspects while shadier aspects offered a grab bag of dense powder in the trees and wind affected snow in open terrain.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
The winds backed off slightly today, but still blew in the moderate range on the ridgelines. There was a lot of snow blowing and drifting on Monday, and Tuesday there was occasional light snow transport.
Avalanche Problem #1
Persistent Weak Layer
Problem #1 Comments
On Monday I was able to dig on West faces to see if the PWL is still a concern there. On a WSW (242 degrees) at 11,240' I found crust/facet sandwiches near the surface (suncrusts). The snow here has obviously gone through some melt freeze cycles since I last visited this site. On 2/27/22 I dug a pit adjacent to this one and got ECTP11 failing on facets 40cm below the surface. The snow pack here has seen a lot of changes since that 2/27 pit. Melt water has percolated through the snow pack and into this former weak layer. I found columns of ice penetrating through what was once the faceted weak layer. This pit yielded an ECTX. I descended and dug one more West facing pit BTL at 10,300 ft. I found a couple melt freeze crusts on top of pencil to knife hard snow all the way to the ground.
On Tuesday I dug due North (2 degrees) at 10,700 on a 32 degree slope that was sparsely treed. The weak layer of buried facets is very obvious in this pit. It is 65cm below the surface and 15cm thick. These facets are still cold and dry and I was not happy to see the facets falling out of the pit wall as I dug. I got an ECTX in this pit. I like the test result, but I still don't like the snow structure. It is likely that it didn't fail the ECT because of the hardness of the slab on top. The slab is very uniform. From the surface it goes F, 4F, 1F, P. A week ago the slab was not pencil hard and we were getting high numbers and some ECTX. Put a thinner slab over this same weak layer and you're likely to trigger an avalanche. I moved over to a NW facing slope (295 degrees) and found a similar snow pack structure. The slab is the same, pencil hard above the weak layer, and the weak layer is 70cm below the surface. The difference here is that the faceted layer is only 5 cm thick and it is damp, and notably more cohesive than what I saw in my North facing pit. This pit produced an ECTX as well, and I have much more confidence in this snow structure than what I saw on due North.
Avalanche Problem #2
Wind Drifted Snow
Decreasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments
On Monday I observed lot of blowing and drifting snow. Deposition was happening on all aspects due to the erratic nature of gusty North winds. Tuesday there was much less snow blowing around. The danger for wind slabs will be decreasing, but is still worth having on the radar for one more day.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating