Observation: Deer Creek

Observation Date
01/16/2017
Observer Name
Hardesty, Wilson, Grainger, Robby

Region:

Location Name or Route
Box Elder via Deer Creek
Weather
Sky
Clear
Wind Speed
Calm
Weather Comments
Glorious.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Faceted Loose
Melt-Freeze Crust
Damp
Snow Characteristics Comments

Loud powder surface hoar nearly all aspects and elevations; damp or breakable mf crust on all the east-south-west aspects.  

 

Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Red Flags Comments
No signs of instability but for yesterday's skier triggered avalanche in the Great NW Cirque. The Shotgun Chutes (steep north facing slide paths just adjacent) were skiied yesterday with no issue.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Loose Dry Snow
Problem #1 Comments

Minor dry sluffing noted.  With 10cm of weak surface snow would've expected longer running sluffs.  

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Loose Wet Snow
Problem #2 Comments

Minor class 1 naturals noted in steep southerly terrain, typically starting at a heat sink.  

Comments
  • Found stable, right-side-up snow.  Chose to avoid investigating the avalanche in the Cirque due to exposure; however multiple snow pits demonstrated deep, strong, stable right-side-up snow.  Graupel layer 50cm down noted, but unreactive.  Surface snow remains the weakest snow on all aspects - 10mm SH over 10cm of NSF on shady aspects; 5cm SH above 2cm of NSF above a mf crust on southerlies.  
  • Dug down to investigate old mid-Dec rain crust/facet interface on a southeast facing slope at 7500' and found nothing alarming.  The rain events from the past couple of weeks left damp, moist snow in this location at the mid pack and below.  
  • Many old storm crowns filled back in with crowns commonly found where graupel pooling seemed likely.  

Problem #3: Wind slab - yesterday's event - https://utahavalanchecenter.org/avalanches/29655 - certainly speaks to evidence of wind slabs in localized terrain.  We found none in our travels but this may lead toward complacency to broad-brush conditions otherwise.  I do however think that these will continue to settle out and feel that the snowpack will trend toward stabilizing.  

 

Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
None
Snow Profile Coordinates