Observation: Moab

Observation Date
02/26/2017
Observer Name
Dave Garcia/Travis Nauman

Region:

Location Name or Route
Gold Miner's> Talking Mountain Cirque> Lone Pine
Weather
Sky
Broken
Wind Direction
West
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Another cold one up in the mountains today. Single digit temps on the ridge lines, we measured 15 F in lower Talking Mountain Cirque around 1 PM. Ridge top winds were moderate out of the west. Sun was in and out all day.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
2"
New Snow Density
Low
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments
The new storm snow from the past few days is about ten inches deep now and remains light density powder.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Collapsing
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
My group experienced a collapse today in what I refer to as the "middle" Laurel Meadow. Not the highest meadow that people sometimes ski. The collapse was interesting, because we were following the main skin track that many parties have crossed over the past several days. I stepped a few feet off the track and experienced the collapse and heard a whoomph. It is possible that the weak layer was reactivated by warming temperatures. It was not super warm by any means, but we felt the collapse in a sunny spot, and it was the warmest temperatures I have felt in the mountains over the past several days. Check out my report from Friday 2/24. I posted a photo of a layer of thin facets beneath a 1F dense slab from Upper Laurel Meadow. I believe this is the layer that collapsed today. Other red flags include wind loading. Moderate winds out of the west were still moving snow around today. And finally, I reported poor snowpack structure on Friday, and found facets again today on a WNW aspect in Talking Mountain Cirque.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
Walking the ridge line up to the weather station, the NE shots down into Horse Creek seemed more loaded today than when I crossed above them on Friday. Winds continued to blow snow around today, and the forecast is for even more snow and strong winds tomorrow. I would expect increasing danger for wind slabs over the next two days.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments
On Friday I identified some faceted layers on a North facing slope. These did not react to stability testing. Today my party dug on a WNW aspect and found both facets and melt freeze crusts beneath the snowpack. We conducted two compression tests and got failures both times. We were about a third of the way up this slope when we dug the pit and decided to turn around. With more snow and wind in the forecast for the next two days these layers could become active.
Snow Profile
Aspect
West
Elevation
11300
Slope Angle
28
Comments
Pit Details: Elevation 11,300, Aspect 288, Angle 28 degrees, Pit Depth 99 cm, HS 220 cm. We conducted two side by side compression tests in this pit. In the first CT we got the following results: CT16 PC @ 25cm down failing on 1 mm facets below a crust, CT 20 RP @ 37cm down failing on 1.5 mm facets, and CT24 BRK @ 41 cm down. The only result that really caught my attention on this first test was the result @ 37cm down since it was the only planar failure. We decided to do a second compression test for the sake of being consistent. While cutting the second column we got CTV RP @ 25cm down. This is a planar fracture that occurred upon isolating the column. We then got CT17 RP @ 37cm down. Pretty consistent results on the facets down 37cm, and a somewhat surprising CTV. Based on the results, we decided not to continue up the slope and to go ski somewhere else.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates