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Observation Date: 
02/26/2017
Observer Name: 
Toddeo
Region: 
Southwest
Location Name or Route: 
Pahvants - Maple Hollow
Weather
Sky: 
Few
Wind Direction: 
Southwest
Wind Speed: 
Moderate
Weather Comments: 
Winds picked up after noon. Transport at the ridge tops and occasional transport in other areas.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth: 
14"
New Snow Density: 
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions: 
Powder
Damp
Snow Characteristics Comments: 

HST = 14" above 8,500' sitting on top of a firm snow surface.  Graupel at the base.  Snow is starting to facet throughout.  East aspects in wind sheltered areas up to 8,500' got a bit damp.  Low elevation was damp in sunny areas skiing out the Maple Hollow road this afternoon.

Some surface hoar.

 

 

Red Flags
Red Flags: 
Wind Loading
Red Flags Comments: 
Potential wind loading if the winds pick up tonight. Other than that, no real red flags observed. Some potential tension cracks in the storm snow were observed on steep rollovers in lower elevation areas. Some minor sluffing of the storm snow on slopes approaching 40 degrees, minor.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type: 
Storm Slab
Trend: 
Same
Problem #1 Comments: 

The storm slab is sitting on a firm base with inconsistent/variable bonding.  Column shear tests were variable and ranged from Q1/2 to Q3 and moderate to hard force required to initiate via hand shears.

Avalanche Problem #2
Type: 
Wind Slab
Trend: 
Increasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments: 

Winds slabs could be an issue if the loading continues, not much of an issue today.

Snow Profile
Aspect: 
Northeast
Elevation: 
9100
Slope Angle: 
30
Comments: 

HS = 48", HST = 14" at this location sitting on a supportable, knife hard crust.  Glove is sitting on a layer of graupel overlying the crust.  This column sheared with a relatively clean Q 1/2.  upon close inspection (photos below) the grapuel is recrystallized and the upper plane of the shear has some faceted snow.

 

Photos below:

1. Upper surface of shear with facets.

2. Basal graupel.

3. Graupel and facets from upper surface.

Results of ECTN (new snow only), part of the column collapsed without propagation.

 

Photo below, no outing in the Pahvants is complete without some bushwacking,

Overall, I feel the hazard is a bit tricky.  I saw no major signs of instability but do not completely trust the HST/crust interface.  I did not ski my planned final run which contains sustained slopes of 40 degrees and may have been subject to some wind loading.

Generally a moderate hazard limited to storm snow.

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