Observation: Little Water

Observation Date
Observer Name
Derek DeBruin
Salt Lake » Big Cottonwood Canyon » Mill D North » Little Water
Location Name or Route
Little Water Peak
Weather Comments
Warm, even at 0730. Light and consistent snow until about 1000, which fell as fat, dense flakes at 7300ft, and a bit less dense higher up. Low cloud layer socked in views on and off throughout the morning, but by noon, visibility had increased with spotty clouds in the valleys and on some peaks, clearing to overcast skies by 1pm. Wind was surprisingly calm in much of the zone, with nothing more than light wind out of the SW at 9600ft.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Characteristics Comments
10-15cm of soft snow sat atop the old, damp snow surface, accumulating another few cm before the snow turned off around 1000. This underlying damp surface turned to unsupportive crust by 9000ft or so. The sub-surface crust was not present on protected northerlies, which instead had a firm layer about 50cm down.
Red Flags
Red Flags Comments
No real red flags to note. Noted a thin (0.5cm or less) stripe of what appeared to be facets atop the sub-surface crust. However, surface snow was soft and not terribly cohesive. The usual informal tests--hand shears, stomping switchbacks, stepping above the skinner, test slopes, etc.--did not elicit any propagation or significant cracking. It all felt kinda "low energy"--slabs not cohesive enough to fracture but surface snow too cohesive/damp to really sluff. There were a few tiny rollerballs underfoot on our exit around 1300 due to the warming temps, but nothing of note. Given all of the above, we didn't stop to dig and kept it under 35 degrees to good effect in the heavy powder pressing into the dampness beneath.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating