Observation: Moab

Observation Date
02/6/2017
Observer Name
Dave Garcia

Region:

Location Name or Route
Laurel Highway> Talking Mountain Cirque> Lone Pine
Weather
Sky
Broken
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Kind of a Gloomy day in the mountains. Mostly cloudy all day with no precip. Winds were moderate out of the SW with strong Gusts on the ridge lines.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Dense Loose
Wind Crust
Melt-Freeze Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments
There's still some turnable snow out there, but you have to work to find it. I covered all aspects today and skied across very firm crusts on West and South faces, NW has some mixed conditions, while north and north east seem to be holding the softest snow.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Normal Caution
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments
The danger is mostly low, and people have been skiing a lot of terrain up there with no incident. I agree with the forecast rating of mostly low danger, but I'm still noticing a couple things that are worth mentioning. On 2/1 I reported near surface faceting occurring in the top 6cm of the snowpack on a West aspect. Today I dug on a 33 degree North facing slope at 11,200 ft. and found this same layer of near surface facets, but they are showing signs of rounding. The near surface facets on the N face are sitting under a 2cm thick pencil hard wind crust, see the photo below. Also, 29 cm below the surface there is a layer of rounding facets that failed under a compression test CT23 PC Q2. This layer was reactive to stability testing on Saturday 2/4 as well. There is 25 cm of 1F density slab sitting on top of this layer. All of this is worth mention, however I'm still not super concerned about this layer right now. People (including myself) have been putting tracks all over the place. Today's avalanche forecast indicated moderate danger at high elevations that face NW through East, and I agree with that assessment given the presence of this weak layer.
You can see the thin layer of near surface facets showing signs of rounding. They are sitting beneath the 2cm thick surface crust.
This is the layer down 29cm after the compression test. The snow above it is one finger hardness.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates