Observation: Smith-Moorehouse

Observation Date
Observer Name
Staples, Gidley, Deutschlander
Uintas » Smith-Moorehouse
Location Name or Route
Smith and Morehouse
Weather Comments
Mostly cloudy, moments of sun breaking through the clouds, snow falling on and off through the day.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Characteristics Comments
The stormy period that started late Feb 1 was warm and wet, but finished with cold, dry snow.
About 7-10 inches of light snow on top.
2.5 feet of new snow since Feb 1st
Red Flags
Red Flags
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Loading
Red Flags Comments
Wind loading is not recent but from the last week. We experienced one giant collapse. Another group just to the north experienced widespread collapsing in a rockier area.
The snowpack has gotten deep and the odds of triggering a slide have been decreasing. We measured almost 6 ft of snow in many places above 9500 ft.
It was easy to find the old snow surface from late January when temperatures hit 60 degrees F in the valleys. On many slopes there is an ice crust with facets under it. On one open, NW facing slope at 9700 ft, we found a layer of surface hoar from late January. I am unsure how widespread this layer is. It produced ECTP21 which is a reasonably high number given that it was just buried by such a heavy load of new snow. Time will tell if we find more surface hoar and/or if it produces any avalanches. My initial hunch is that it may not be an issue, but I won't bet my life on it just yet.
Photo 1 - Shows the stripe in the snow where the surface hoar layer is buried
Photo 2 - close up of the surface hoar crystals.
Photo 3 - hand hardness of the new snow and the result of my extended column test.
Ice crust with facets did not produce any propagating failures in my ECT's on SW and SE facing slopes.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating