Observation: North Fork Park

Observation Date
Observer Name
DeBruin, Hardesty, O'Connor
Ogden » Ben Lomond » North Fork Park
Location Name or Route
Ben Lomond, North Fork
Weather Comments
Decent visibility and relatively clear, with partly/mostly cloudy skies and a cloud ceiling around 9000ft. No precip to speak of. Temps were warm and spring-like. Wind was uncharacteristically calm.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Characteristics Comments
Surface conditions varied by elevation. Lowest elevations were punchy and unsupportive. Higher up was melt-freeze crust, also unsupportive. Things began to transition toward supportive into the middle elevations, with the rain-snow line from the weekend around 7500ft and properly supportive surface above that. Creamy snow could be found higher still in relatively protected locations.
Red Flags
Red Flags Comments
No real red flags to speak of. Noted several old avalanches from the January 14 cycle, owing to the lack of significant snow in the interim. There was plenty of old wet loose activity evident across aspects at low elevations (photo of rollerball below). We also saw the remnants of a slab avalanche (largely refilled due to windblown snow given its location near a ridgeline) at 7900ft NE that appeared to have run full path, about 800ft of vertical. Photo below of top of path.
Dug at 6500ft ENE and had a difficult time finding a hole without bushes in it. Snow height was about 125cm, ECTs were unreactive, but did get some results with non-standardized tests about 50cm down on a storm interface. Snowpack was isothermal with basal and December facets both wet.
Dug higher at 8000ft NE with snow height as low as 130-150cm in exposed locations or near trees, but generally 175-200cm of snowpack. PST in 2 separate pits with no results at the base of the storm slab (100-120cm down). ECTP17 about 20cm down on a storm interface as well as another similar result from a non-standardized test. Storm slab was right side up (4F to 1F) throughout the upper slab, with 4F damp--but still square--facets beneath.
Conditions seemed relatively stable given the lack of test results and depth of the slab. A shallow spot in the snowpack or a heavy load (or both) could certainly wake up the PWL, but the current trend seems toward stability and problems closer to the surface as opposed to deeper.
An outline of the top of the path from the January 14 cycle, with the crown/flank just visible in the snow surface.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating