Observation: Cardiff Fork

Observation Date
Observer Name
Salt Lake » Big Cottonwood Canyon » Cardiff Fork
Location Name or Route
Cardiff Fork
Moderate Snowfall
Wind Direction
Wind Speed
Weather Comments
Started tour at 0915 under Scattered cloud. Quickly turned to Overcast with the sun trying to make an appearance and attempting to greenhouse. By 1015 it was Obscured and the cloud deck was around 10,500'. Winds were calm to light and were mostly out of the north. S2 snowfall from 12pm to 1330 in upper Cardiff Fork. When returning to Alta at 1500, it was still snowing hard.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
New Snow Density
Snow Surface Conditions
Snow Characteristics Comments
Overnight snowfall of 15cm atop another 15-20cm from the day prior. A 4F crust of melt forms below this new snow exists on E-S-W and is supportable. On northerly facing terrain the upper 1m of snowpack is right side up, yet a few hardness changes are noted and this appears to be the denisty inversions of lower density snow sitting below the surface slab forming through the effects of warming and wind. It is a rather relative hardness change of only one step or less. But its enough and the there are plenty of human triggered and natural avalanches to prove there is instability.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Heavy Snowfall
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
The poor structure relates to the density inversions. We did not find any facet/crusts on our travels from Town of Alta to Reynolds Flat.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Decreasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
Saw evidence of wind effected storm slabs up on Cardiac Ridge that appeared to be from earlier in the morning. Due to flat light it was hard to say for sure but they did not seem to have new snow atop the debris. There were a few groups milling about on these 3 different bed surfaces and they may report out on what they found. The characteristics seem to be the same as all those reported in the last week+.
Avalanche Problem #2
New Snow
Problem #2 Comments
Exiting the drainage the new snow was damp and there was evidence or previous wet loose in the forest on steep road cut. However the cloud cover and new snowfall today, along with temps that seemed colder than yesterday kept the warming issues at bay.
Photo of fracture lines outlined and debris is visible. Flat light prohibited better photos.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating