Observation: Gold Basin

Observation Date
01/27/2016
Observer Name
Bruce Tremper

Region:

Location Name or Route
Gold Basin - Red Snow Cirque
Weather
Sky
Clear
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
Beautiful, clear, sunny, warm day with light wind
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
6"
New Snow Density
Low
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments

Still great snow on the shady aspects (northwest through east) with about 6 inches of settled powder.  The sunny aspects are crusty.

Red Flags
Red Flags Comments
No red flags. I've put in a couple of field days on Tuesday and Wednesday in the La Sals because I'm forecasting for Eric while he's out of town for a couple weeks, and I'm trying to come up to speed on the snowpack. I've explored several slopes in several areas in the Geyser Pass area and looked at most aspects. I've dug a half-dozen snow profiles plus many dozens of pole probes. The snow is deeper and more stable than I think I have ever seen it in the La Sals. I can't seem to find any snow that seems sketchy to me. Having said that, I still would not jump into everything with abandon. I'm most worried about the shallow snowpack areas that slid during previous avalanche cycles that remain thin and weak, although I have not accessed any of the starting zones yet because they are mostly high on the peaks and dangerous to access. I noticed some thin, weaker snow on the upper part of the Funnel a couple days ago but it was not very reactive to stress tests. I'm also suspicous of all wind slabs, even though most of them are several days old now. I have not drafted up any snow profiles yet because they are all quite uninteresting to an avalanche geek. None of my compression tests or Extended Column Tests have produced any clean shears or propagations. So I'm feeling better and better about the snowpack with the exception of what I mentioned above.

From Red Snow Cirque, looking across to Laurel and Mellenthin.  You can see all the wind damage up high and I would still be suspicious of all the wind slabs in the wind zones. 

 

Some nice cross loading of wind drifted snow on the west face of Red Snow Snow Cirque

 

Some small, dry, loose sluffs on the southeast facing slopes below Tuk-No in Red Snow Cirque.

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