Observation: La Sal Mountains

Observation Date
02/6/2016
Observer Name
Travis Nauman

Region:

Location Name or Route
La Sals - Corkscrew
Weather
Sky
Clear
Wind Speed
Calm
Weather Comments
Lots of sun, only a very slight breeze at the exposed shoulder at the top of Corkscrew
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Dense Loose
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments
Felt pretty stable in the forest, but anywhere the wind or open sky has been able to play with the snow, it gets weird. Once above 10,000' we got multiple whoomps on anything with wind structure or slab cohesion, and stayed on very conservative well anchored and sheltered slopes.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Wind Loading
Cracking
Collapsing
Rapid Warming
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
There were a plethora of red flags today. It got really warm - lots of sun radiation. Multiple collapses (see snow profile narrative). There was a crown from the last storm cycle close to the shoulder of Corkscrew.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments
See snow profile narrative. The interface under the last snow had a faceted layer that is pretty scary.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments
There has been a lot of wind transport, and a pillow on low angle test slope above Noriega collapsed with a bit of propagation - crack went out ~5 ft.
Snow Profile
Aspect
Northwest
Elevation
10200
Slope Angle
31
Comments
Along the edge of one of the main open shots in Corkscrew we dug a pit (see details below). At 38 cm depth we had an ECTP 23 Q2 with full failure at 30, which got our attention. So we decided to stick along the trees to climb and as a friend put the tip of his ski up on the edge of the pit there was a loud whoomph, and a crack propagated a good 30 feet out into the opening and another buddy and I in the trees could feel the vibrations clearly. That kept us out of everything not well anchored for the rest of the day. Be extremely careful as we also felt some smaller failures on the wind pillows on top of the ridge above Noriega's face. There are slabs wanting to come down the mountain right now, caution is key!!!!! The snow profile interface wasn't working so here it is: 10,150 ft, 31 deg slope, NW aspect (328 deg) 11AM 25 deg F air temp 0-11cm, Fist, Facets, 27 degF 11-38 cm, 4F, Rounded, 38cm: ECTP 23 Q2, completely failed at 30, full propagation 38-61cm, 1F-4f, Rounded 61-155, 1F 155-160, depth hoar, but not really that much
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable
Snow Profile Coordinates