Observation: Cutler Ridge

Observation Date
01/22/2017
Observer Name
Bill Brandt

Region:

Location Name or Route
Cutler Ridge to Cutler Creek
Weather
Sky
Obscured
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Strong
Weather Comments
Strong winds all day really picking up in late afternoon. Started snowing heavily at 3 pm. Skin track in many places was filled in between laps. Snow changed from soft powder to stiff wind pack later in the day. We didn't travel above the weather station because the wind was so unpleasant.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
12"
New Snow Density
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments

Soft snow from yesterday was still present in wind sheltered areas. Theses areas were the same areas where buried surface hoar and facets were located. We intentionally triggered several soft slabs on steep low elevation wind sheltered slopes. See photos below. Also video on Instagram @brandt.bill

Yesterday we intentionally triggered several slides near the slide reported by Doug Wewer at 8700 ft elevation. The weak layer today was much easier to identify as buried surface hoar. I suspect naturals were happening near that location with the strong wind today. We just weren't willing to go there to look for them although that was the original plan. The wind changed our plan.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Cracking
Collapsing
Poor Snowpack Structure
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments

The way the wind was moving snow today this should be a big problem tomorrow especially with the forecasted new snow and warmer temps. These will be covered with new snow and more difficult to identify.

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments

There is a thick soft slab covering buried surface hoar which is easily triggered on slopes greater than 35 degrees. The new snow load should lead to several natural slides by morning. The wind was also starting to load theses low elevation protected areas by mid afternoon.

1-Obvious buried surface hoar and near surface facets.

2-Close up of buried surface hoar.

3-Blocks of soft slab.

4-Crown of intentionally triggered slide on 38 degree N facing slope at 6500 ft.

5-Cracking which we noticed prior to triggering slide.

Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
High
Snow Profile Coordinates