Observation: Cutler Ridge

Observation Date
Observer Name
Ogden » Ben Lomond » Cutler Ridge
Location Name or Route
Ben Lomond - Cutler Ridge
Wind Direction
Wind Speed
Weather Comments
A light breeze from the SE along highest ridges.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
New Snow Density
Snow Surface Conditions
Snow Characteristics Comments
15 cms (6") of new snow containing mostly graupel from Friday. The dense snow made for easy travel and perfect riding conditions.
Ski cuts on fresh wind-drifts were unreactive.
Strong sunshine, but the temperatures stayed cool enough to keep the snow surface dry. But I imagine steep southerly aspects became crusted.
Overall, a stable snowpack where we traveled today along Cutler Ridge. We dug several pits up to 8,600' on all aspects and we couldn't get any clean shears in the top meter of snow. The layer we were focusing on is the old snow surface prior to this week's storm snow. Sun/Mon/Tue (Feb 11/12/13) was cold and clear and the snow surface turned to facets with some surface hoar. Snow on Wednesday, Feb 14 preserved this layer (which we'll call the Valentine's facets) and this interface is now buried 45-60 cms deeply under snow from this week. However, this layer does not look all that weak and all tests were ECTN with Q2 fractures on the Valentine's facets.
We dug two pits on a southeast and east aspects and also got ECTN, but it's possible we didn't dig enough on southeast aspects as there are reports of facets around a thin melt-freeze crust on southeast aspects.
Going forward, before committing to any steep slope facing southeast or east, I would dig down to the Valentine's facets, looking for facets around a thin crust and assess the layer for stability .
Photos of
Ben Lomond, with evidence of wind-drifting and cross-loading. Also note the large cornices along the summit ridge. There are several large cornices along the Ogden Skyline.
A small wind-pocket with fresh debris on Ben Lomond headwall - this most likely avalanched overnight or early Saturday morning.
A larger crown along the summit ridge of Willard Peak.
Moderate terrain where we traveled and we ventured onto steeper, northerly-facing slopes given all the pits we dug that showed no signs of instability.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating