Observation: Moab

Observation Date
01/7/2016
Observer Name
Garcia, Trenbeath

Region:

Location Name or Route
Laurel Highway, Funnel
Weather
Sky
Broken
Precipitation
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
Scattered clouds, sun was in and out throughout the day. Winds remained calm for the day, not moving much snow.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
10"
New Snow Density
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments
10 inches of medium density snow. Skiing produced some roller balls on sunnier slopes.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Cracking
Red Flags Comments
Cracking was VERY isolated and not shooting out at all. Just very small cracking happening on upper elevation NE face. Almost not worth noting, I only mention it because 2 slides were observed running in the new snow across the canyon on the north face of Noriega Peak. Both were mid slope, 1 slide was pretty small, the other I would say medium sized. The slides observed did not appear to be very deep, they are storm slabs involving new snow. We guess that the slides happened sometime wednesday night. No cracking was observed while skiing and skinning across SW, W, and NW aspects. Slope cut on upper elevation NE slope produced no results.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Storm Slab
Trend
Decreasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
I would say this problem is mostly isolated to North and East aspects on steep terrain. Like I said above, we did not experience instabilities in the new snow where we skied today.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments
Mid pack persistent weak layers are still present. DId not dig on north or east where I would expect this to be more of a problem, but stability testing on a WNW slope produced no results on the weak interfaces mid snowpack.
Snow Profile
Aspect
West
Elevation
11400
Slope Angle
32
Comments
So if you look at this snow profile, the bottom looks like a total mess. Crust/facet/crust sandwich on top of depth hoar. The good news is that the depth hoar is rounding and is now at the bottom of 152 cm of snow. I expected failure in the mid pack facets at 90 cm and 80cm, but these layers did not fail. The grains at 90cm are definitely getting stronger and bonding to each other. We did get the column to fail below the pencil crust at 37cm. However this was only after the entire column had been isolated and it failed at CT23 Q3 and CT24 Q3. This is not a red flag in my book. Tomorrow's danger rating moderate, unless we see more snow and/or wind tonight.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates