Observation: Gooseberry Point

Observation Date
01/1/2017
Observer Name
Toddeo

Region:

Location Name or Route
Brian Head Backcountry - Gooseberry Point
Weather
Sky
Obscured
Precipitation
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
This area was socked in most of the day, an isolated occurance that might be related to it being the 1st high point for orographics from the SW. The Navajo Lake area was partly sunny this morning. This area underwent a rime event last night and this morning.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Dense Loose
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments

Still some settled powder here and there.  Also areas of dense loose and wind affected snow.  The surface in this area had far more structure than I have observed in the Pahvants this week.  Nowhere did I observed the weak loose facets that I had been skiing to the north.  The trade-off is that the basal facets are looser and weaker (see profile below).

Trace of new snow in the form of pellets/graupel.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
The primary red flag in this area appears to be the weak basal facets. They are buried 4' below the surface in this area. They could easily be a low probability but high consequence situation. I think it would take a large trigger or a thin spot to activate. Some wind drifts but they seemed benign, the warm weather likely helped, it was about freezing at 10,000'.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Deep Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments

Most likely low danger but present.

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments

Most likely low danger.

Snow Profile
Aspect
North
Elevation
10100
Slope Angle
35
Comments

HS=48"

Of note are loose slightly decomposing basal facets.  Somewhere between 4-finger and fist hardness, about 5-6" thick (photo below).  Note:  I also felt this layer at the base of the pack while track skiing at Deer Hollow near Navajo Lake this morning.  I did not investigate knowing I would be making turns later in the day.

One decomposing crust about 8-10" above the facets.

The remainder of the snow pack grades from a 2-finger mi-pack to a 4 finger upper pack.

Photos below:

1. Basal facets

2.  Surface forms including surface hoar, rime, graupel, and pellets.

Photos below:

1.  The rime event made me think to look real close at the snow surface where I found a very subtle, delicate crust as shown in photo 2.  The crust was very hard to isolate and was not felt while breaking trail or skiing, I had to look very close.

Photo below:

Official ski food of SW Utah!

Overall a low danger, the currently forecasted snow totals should not increase the danger unless they are accompanied by strong winds.

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