11th Annual Utah Snow & Avalanche Workshop Open and Motorized Sessions Oct. 27th.
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Observation Date: 
1/2/2017
Observer Name: 
Dave Garcia
Region: 
Moab
Location Name or Route: 
Gold Basin
Weather
Sky: 
Overcast
Precipitation: 
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction: 
South
Wind Speed: 
Moderate
Weather Comments: 
Cloudy skies and light snowfall. No accumulation during the day. Winds were moderate in the basins and appeared to be strong on the ridges. Weather station indicates gusts up to 40 mph. High temperature of 19 degrees at Gold Basin.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions: 
Powder
Dense Loose
Snow Characteristics Comments: 
Good quality powder remains on sheltered northerly facing aspects.
Red Flags
Red Flags: 
Wind Loading
Avalanche Problem #1
Type: 
Wind Drifted Snow
Trend: 
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments: 
As noted above, wind slabs are the biggest concern right now. Winds were mainly from the south and southwest. So be aware on northerly slopes. So far wind slabs are small and somewhat isolated, but they could be more of a problem with forecasted wind and snow throughout the week.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type: 
Persistent Weak Layer
Trend: 
Same
Problem #2 Comments: 
We dug a pit on a 32 degree north facing slope. The pit revealed the same graupel/facet layer that Eric and I identified last Thursday on a high elevation NW slope. The snow was a bit deeper in today's location and the buried weak layer is 47cm below the surface. This layer failed on a compression test CTM17 Q2. We also performed an extended column test and the layer did not fail. See the photo below of the layer in question. This layer still exists, but like last Thursday was not super reactive to stability testing. We used this test slope to make a decision to ski lone pine. It is worth mentioning the snow was very deep where we dug (210cm) and lone pine has slid previously this season, so is of course not as deep. Heading up lone pine we probed with our poles to find some sugary snow maybe 18 inches below the surface. This was not seen in our pit with the exact same aspect. It makes sense to find near surface facets on lone pine considering that it slid already in mid December. A more shallow snowpack is typically a breeding ground for facets. There wasn't really a consolidated slab on top of the facets so we decided to ski the slope anyway. I think the little wind slab we kicked off was also a good test of these facets as it did not step down into them. If we get more snow this week, or wind continues to deposit snow on lone pine and other similar slopes I would stay off. Any of the NW through NE facing slopes that have slid previously will probably resemble the snowpack in lone pine. If it hasn't slid previously it should more closely resemble our pit which we all felt good about.
Closeup shot of the graupel/facet layer seen in today's pit 47cm below the surface. Failed CTM17 Q2, did not fail on ECT.
A shot of the small crown from the wind slab.
A shot of the small slide in relation to our tracks in lone pine.
Today's Observed Danger Rating: 
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating: 
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates: 
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