Observation: Cutler Ridge

Observation Date
Observer Name
Drew Hardesty, Will Ambler
Ogden » Ben Lomond » Cutler Ridge
Location Name or Route
Cutler Ridge
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Wind Loading
Poor Snowpack Structure
Avalanche Problem #1
Persistent Weak Layer
Problem #1 Comments
Very large feathers of surface hoar rest atop a bed of loose sugary facets, now all tucked in by the new snow. This facilitated some exciting whumphs and shooting cracks as we walked up through the lower elevation terrain. The surface hoar went up to about 7800'. The facets went as high and low as we went, 6000' - 8800'. The snow sans buried surface hour didn't produce the same dramatic collapses and seemed more stubborn on our test slopes. These layers existed on every aspect we visited, NW-E. The most significant event was a 1' deep and 50' wide crack on a heavily wind loaded test slope at 7500', running on the old surface facets.
Avalanche Problem #2
Wind Drifted Snow
Increasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments
Once we got up to about 6700 feet, out of the gullies and denser trees, we were met with sporadic gusts of a pleasant breeze from the SW carrying and depositing snow. As we climbed, the winds got stronger and the signs of wind drifted snow become more prevalent. Around 7800-7900' the wind drifted snow had turned to hard slabs. These slabs did not seem connected enough to propagate into significant avalanches yet as they were sporadic and of varying harnesses and depths. On the high ridge the wind was consistently blowing very heavily, bordering unpleasant and still from the SW, and rapidly transporting snow onto the lee slopes. The south-facing slopes were deeply scoured near the ridge.
Great snow can be found to ski. Windward slopes were quite scoured. Low elevation is still pretty low tide. 3-4 inches of facets and 5-6 inches of new snow around 6000'.
Image 1: recent loose dry avalanche from the summit ridge of Lomond. Airborne snow flying above.
Image 2: big surface hoar crystals
Image 3&4: shooting cracks and a gratuitous tipshot
Image 5: the wind hard at work etching and sculpting the snow surface
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating