Uintas » Wolf Creek
Location Name or Route
Wolf Creek Pass
This morning we went for a tour around Wolf Creek Pass to look for weakening snow and wind-affected snow. We found a variety of snow surfaces, including surface hoar (flat crystals 3-5 mm, needles 3 mm) and soft snow in non-wind-affected areas, and a thin wind crust in wind-affected areas. Rime was also plastered to the north side of trees. We stopped to dig a pit on a NE facing slope at 9700', a slope similar to a recent avalanche on 11/12. The height of snow was 62 cm, and we found a solid 1F slab overlying weak snow halfway down the snowpack. While ECT results showed fracture and no propagation at both this interface and an upper-snowpack density change beneath the weakening new snow, the snowpack structure is poor (see SnowPilot image).
The recipe for an avalanche is simple. A slab overlying weak snow + a slope steep enough to slide + a trigger = avalanche. We found a slab overlying a weak layer, so we avoided slopes steep enough to slide. With cold clear nights in the forecast, we expect last week's snow to continue to weaken. Whenever it snows next, I will be very cautious and conservative in my decision-making.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating