Observation: Huntington Canyon

Observation Date
01/20/2016
Observer Name
Brett Kobernik

Region:

Location Name or Route
Fairview Canyon, Skyline Summit, Huntington Canyon
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Wind Direction
Northwest
Wind Speed
Strong
Weather Comments
Clouds breaking in the late afternoon with wind speeds dropping off by 6pm.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
4"
New Snow Density
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Dense Loose
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments

Difficult to get a good measurement of the new snow due to all of the wind transport today.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Wind Loading
Red Flags Comments
Plumes off every ridge and stirring things up in the lower elevations much more than usual. Small class 2 avalanche kissed the creek in Huntington Canyon, Chute Camp Site. Info below.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Problem #1 Comments

The period of windy conditions along with new snow over the last 5 days has increased the avalanche danger dramatically.  Knowing that there is weak snow within the snowpack and seeing all of the wind loading occurring is enough to know that the upper elevation steep east facing bowls should be avoided on Thursday.  The problem is that these are going to be stubborn and not all slopes will avalanche when a rider gets on them.  It is very tricky to know which ones will avalanche and which ones won't.  Lack of cracking or avalanches may lead one to think things are stable and give a false sense of security.  It feels to me like Thursday is a likely day to hear about someone triggering an avalanche.

Comments

I took advantage of some clearing late in the day to go up and look around.  The light wasn't good enough to see into the big east facing terrain so I couldn't make out any new avalanche activity.  However, the massive amounts of snow that was being transported was enough to tell me that things are dangerous up there right now.

I did find a natural avalanche in Huntington Canyon that released today during the wind.  DETAILS HERE

The wind was enough to stir things up in the mid elevations so you'll want to watch for fresh drifts on the steep slopes in these elevations.  The higher terrain is where most of the danger lies and I would stress to avoid the upper elevation more east facing steep slopes on Thursday.

Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable
Snow Profile Coordinates