Observation: Electric Lake

Observation Date
02/4/2016
Observer Name
Darce Trotter / Steve Cote

Region:

Location Name or Route
Far East Electric Lake
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Precipitation
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
very light flurries without any accumulation today, temps remained cold maintaining snow conditions very nicely. Evidence of wind events from both SW and NW that have occurred in last week.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments

6"-8" of settled new snow from storms earlier in week, pack is very supportable where depth is increasing making for excellent conditions, spongy base with cold low density snow at surface.  Our surprises today was how strong bridging was where we chose to check on areas that had previously avalanched, yet we had large collapses in lower angle E facing open areas, and if you stumbled into a shallow wind scoured area,  pack was punchy with very weak snow near the ground. 

Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Wind Loading
Collapsing
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
We were even more cautious today after Kowboys experience yesterday, purposely set out to check areas that had slid during the Christmas event and were reloaded, but were low consequence slopes. We found very strong pack in areas we chose to ski today, pushing slope angles into the 30's and high 30's on small roll overs and beneath small cornices without any reaction. Yet in low angle east facing open areas that may be affected more by crosswinds, experienced 3 rather large collaspses, the largest we have experienced in quite a while??? all pointing to continued high variability that still exists over relatively small distances
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments

Without a very keen knowledge of what had avalanched previously and  even with an awful lot of poking around, the "monsters are still in the basement" (C Gordon).  That alone was enough to keep us from centerpunching Electric Lake Bowl, particularly because the steeper rollovers involve a rock band that is halfway down the slope and the exposure guarantees a ride if things go south.  If others use our access this weekend, I hope they can resist the siren's song as our uptrack traversed  above an awful lot of enticing terrain today .  At one point in our laps over to the Far East side and safer terrain, I glanced back at Steve and he said "I know, I know", because he knew what I was thinking without me even saying it.  

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Decreasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments

Still lots of snow in trees in this area, and if winds pick up again, fresh wind slabs can easily be formed,

Snow Profile
Aspect
North
Elevation
9500
Slope Angle
31
Comments

we had 3 large collapses in lower angle E facing terrain today on our uptrack

135 cm total snow, gaining strength, looking good in his particular area

Video

Our first ECT today in the thicker pack

Video

we moved a little further over into the path and found the pack to be much thinner, more in the 3'  total range and decided to repeat our ECT again.  We may have been on the edge of the old bedsurface but found the facets to still exist, but the layer was not as thick, more like 5"-6" with a rightside up slab on top much like we found to the right 3' away.  Bottom line, considerable hazard remains, but where is the $64 dollar question.  As weather and visibility improves, people will be getting into areas of concern, still a time to dial it back and be patient

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