Observation: Electric Lake

Observation Date
01/13/2017
Observer Name
Darce Trotter / Steve Cote

Region:

Location Name or Route
Electric Lake, lower
Weather
Sky
Broken
Precipitation
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
Southeast
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
Storm moving on, some clouds in from SE with light flurries, but we were able to get a good look around, temps were relatively warm, but no direct sunlight yet on snow
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
8"
New Snow Density
Low
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments

Pack is settling out nicely, very supportable, access to area has been difficult, no parking and with gate closed over summit to Huntington Canyon, our options were limited, seems plow were able to get road to and from mines toward Schofield cleared, we were lucky to find a place to pull off in the usual parking spot for Electric Lake, plows, snowcat, and giant rotary plow worked on the road all day long and by early afternoon had it widened and mostly back to pavement.  Ski penetration was only 6"-8", and about a foot with boots, upper pack right side up, a variety of layering, with graupel evident, but warm temps are settling it out very quickly.  No new activity noted on this side of Skyline, but wet rollers and sluffs were starting as we lost elevation on the way home, direct heating from sun could be an issue on the weekend.  We had no cracking, collapses, or other evidence of instability, but limited activity to lower angle slopes. 

Red Flags
Red Flags
Heavy Snowfall
Rapid Warming
Red Flags Comments
instabilities settling out rapidly, but wind loaded summit ridges could be a completely different story.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Storm Slab
Trend
Decreasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments

Seems each wave of new snow began as graupel, with at least 3 different layers we found, with some failures on second lower layer, these will likely heal with continued warm temps. A very stout 2" rain crust  is at 160 cm from the ground and buried weak layer of surface hoar now nearly 5' down, likely no longer a player.   

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Cornice
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments

we did not get much of a look at higher terrain, but there have to be large cornices from big wind during storm.  People and machines were amassing on the open road to Schofield as we were headed home this afternoon. 

Snow Profile
Aspect
North
Elevation
9100
Slope Angle
27
Comments

Buried surface hoar nearly 5' down

A look at the upper layers

Video

we had failures on this layer both with shovel tilt @ 14, and ECT at 28, you can see the graupel squirt out with propagation, Q1 shear, feel this will heal with time, overall feeling more confident with the stability, certainly one of the strongest (ie deepest) snowpack we have seen on the Plateau in several years 

Video

They brought out the big guns on the road

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