Observation: Skyline

Observation Date
01/26/2016
Observer Name
Brett Kobernik

Region:

Location Name or Route
Choke Cherry Ridge to the Skyline
Weather
Sky
Clear
Wind Direction
North
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Slightly gusty on the very highest ridges. Wind continued to decrease later in the day.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Wind Crust
Melt-Freeze Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments

Mostly powder conditions.  Some wind damage along the highest ridges.  Sun didn't heat southerly slopes as much as I anticipated although you'll find a thin melt freeze crust on the steeper more due south slopes.

Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments

With the first clear day since the storm, I was able to get up and look around to see if any natural activity occurred.  I found what I was looking for.  I came across a number of repeater avalanches.  Most notably a large one in Pleasant Creek.  This path slid BIG on Xmas day.  Pleasant Creek 12-25-15  About 6 inches of new snow fell on the bed surface in early January and then faceted turning into weak sugary grains.  The path has been slowly getting reloaded by storms since then.  The most recent storm finally added enough new snow to overload the weak layer on the old bed surface.  Pleasant Creek 1-24-16

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Loose Wet Snow
Problem #2 Comments

Today, things did not get warm enough to make southerly facing slopes unstable.  It is supposed to be warmer on Wednesday and Thursday.  Watch for wet activity on the sunny slopes during the heat of the day on Wednesday.

Comments

Unfortunately, the persistent buried weak sugary faceted layers of snow look like they will continue to cause us problems for a while.  BBQ bowl in Pleasant Creek is one of my favorite places to ski when conditions allow.  Conditions have been too dangerous for me to feel comfortable getting into it yet this season.

Many avalanche paths that avalanched during December are now reloaded.  My findings today conclude that many of these paths are going to avalanche again.  Some may just need a little nudge like someone on a sled or skis.  Some may need a bit more snow.  Bottom line is that things are dangerous and we need to avoid these big steep slopes for a while still.

Below is a picture of a couple of slopes in upper Seeley Creek.  These did not avalanche during the last storm but did in December.  DETAILS  These slopes are ripe to avalanche again.  These are very popular slopes for people on sleds to climb.  I would stay clear of these for now.

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