Observation: Upper Weber Canyon

Observation Date
Observer Name
Staples and Deutschlander
Uintas » Upper Weber Canyon
Location Name or Route
Gardens Creek Basin
Weather Comments
Beautiful clear skies. The Uintas were stunning. Winds picked up in the afternoon but were warm.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
New Snow Density
Snow Surface Conditions
Snow Characteristics Comments
Slopes with any amount of shade had great soft powder. Sunny slopes had an ice crust on top this morning but they softened up and rode well this afternoon.
Main goal was twofold - Look for buried surface hoar on shady slopes and investigate Valentines layer on E and SE facing slopes.
  1. A week ago, I could find buried surface hoar in every pit I dug and it would break and propagate in my tests. Today, it either didn't break or I couldn't find it. Additionally we have not seen or gotten reports of any avalanches on this layer. Perhaps we can not worry about it anymore.
  2. I was able to find the Valentines layer (2.5' deep) and it fractured across the entire column after 24 taps (4 hard swings from the shoulder). It doesn't seem like a problem now, but it could wake up with several feet of snow and very strong winds over the weekend. (video below)
Overall I was surprised just how faceted the snow is on SE and E facing slopes. The reason is that February has been quite stormy - which means that there have been relatively brief periods of sunshine and warm temperatures. Just enough heat to form crusts, but enough cooling to form facets around these crusts.
Lastly - watch for cornices. They have grown quite large. More snow and SW winds will help them get even bigger this weekend. We saw one small one that had collapsed on it's own (photo below).
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating