Observation: Big Meadow

Observation Date
01/21/2016
Observer Name
Darce Trotter / Steve Cote

Region:

Location Name or Route
Big Meadow
Weather
Sky
Clear
Wind Direction
West
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
cool clear morning, but once sun got up, significant heating today, winds were light today, but evidence of both SW and NE wind damage everywhere, even lower in drainages.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
5"
New Snow Density
Low
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments

widespread wind damage apparent, multiple cornice drops on E facing summit ridgelines, small pockets pulling out but not that big.  Snow slowly getting deeper and stronger, last couple of storms have not had enough loading to trigger new widespread activity,  Skiing was still very good, conditions improved as you descended out of wind damaged territory.  Still very suspicious of steep terrain, pockety cover, rocks showing in stripped areas with obvious wind pillows, crossloading, you name it everywhere.  If you went looking for trouble, you will likely find it. 

 

Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Rapid Warming
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
first rapid warming today putting even more stress on snowpack
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Decreasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments

most failures we have had in last couple of weeks have been up in the snowpack, not full depth, but slide reported in Rolfson Canyon on Presidents Day was still visible from our vantage point today and went to rocks/facets. Most other issues seem to be healing. 

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments

Snowpack has not been as overloaded on Plateau as in Central Wasatch, but weak snow still exists in sheltered NW through NE aspects

Snow Profile
Aspect
Northeast
Slope Angle
29
Comments

We purposely held our slope angles in check until we had investigated the pack right where we wanted to ski, after having a look, we pushed the angles over 35 in a little test pocket that had run during the Christmas Storm, but without any effect.  This particular place had filled back in with new and drifting snow, no cracking, collapsing or hint on in stability.  This is a look at the pack prior to ski testing a steeper, low consequence slope. 

Video

ECT test

Video

105 cm  total at Miller Flat with 40 cm of settled snow on interval board from last 2 weeks

Typical wind damage, worse in some places, dirt showing on some exposed N facing summit ridges

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