Observation: Brianhead Backcountry

Observation Date
11/25/2016
Observer Name
Toddeo

Region:

Location Name or Route
Brianhead Peak
Weather
Sky
Clear
Wind Direction
North
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Wind seemed to be from the north, however later in the day it was blowing from the south on I-15 in Beaver. Some blowing snow.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Dense Loose
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments

Snow in most locations was wind affected.  Drifts up to 30" deep on Brianhead Peak.  Snow is beginning to facet, very fine crystals (<1 mm) 4-finger.  Some areas of settled powder but still too thin to really ski.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Red Flags Comments
Red flags in this area mostly consist of wind loaded areas. Many drifts were rock hard, I was only able to get minimal localized cracking.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments

Wind slabs were present and would be the #1 concern, However they are very isolated in the thin snow pack.  I think one would have to look hard to trigger an avalanche.  Hollow snow below some of the slabs/drifts is not very faceted yet.

 

Low Danger

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Normal Caution
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments

Normal caution for the thin snowpack, HS is approximately 11-12" at 11,000'.

Snow Profile
Aspect
East
Elevation
11000
Slope Angle
20
Comments

Thin (HS=10-12") snowpack.  This is consistent with local snotel and the Brianhead resort snow stake.  This area has received 31" in the last three storms which indicates that it has settled to approximately 1/3 of the storm snow depths.  Snow is starting to facet but sill very fine grained.  No basal facets of note. Upper 3" or so is from the last storm.  The lower pack is generally consistent.

Photo - Brianhead side/backcountry.  Snow pack still has a long way to go.  Groomed slopes at the resort are the only real option for turning.  I skied up and down the summer road to the peak.

I would call the Hazard Low.  I think it would be possible to trigger a slide if one sought out the right pocket.  My main concern is the thin snow pack.  I choose to ski the road and made a few turns while accessing a slope to dig a pit.

Hazard is low in this area.
 

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