Observation: Moab

Observation Date
02/28/2017
Observer Name
Dave Garcia

Region:

Location Name or Route
Laurel Highway> North Woods
Weather
Sky
Broken
Wind Direction
West
Wind Speed
Calm
Weather Comments
Calm winds out of the west. Mostly cloudy in the AM, the sun starting poking through around 2:45.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
5"
New Snow Density
Low
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments
Five inches at the Gold Basin stake today. Low density powder.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Collapsing
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
I broke trail up Laurel Highway today and got several collapses. The first in the lowest of the Laurel Meadows. I dug a quick pit here to try and identify what collapsed. No crusts in this location, but there are facets down 35cm on top of 1F density rounds. And then I got several audible collapses in upper Laurel Meadow. It must have collapsed about five times as I worked my way up and across it. Pretty wild. I even collapsed the flat meadow on my way to the Gold Basin weather station. Dug a pit on a WSW aspect in Upper Julie's with a mix of crusts and facets. Got a CT 12 RP Q2 down 30cm in this pit.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments
In my travels today I experienced mostly calm winds and did not see any blowing snow. I was skiing in mid elevations today, and topped out above tree line only once. Slopes facing N and E were visibly loaded. The forecast is for strong winds again tonight so this problem will linger for a few more days.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments
I still think there is a danger of triggering a persistent slab avalanche right now. I have confirmed persistent weak layers on aspects facing West and Northwest. I haven't investigated other slopes thoroughly enough to say that it's not a problem elsewhere, but it seems people aren't experiencing the same collapsing and failures that I have seen on W and NW slopes. In upper Laurel Meadow, where I experienced about five audible collapses, there are facets underneath a stout crust. The failure I got in Upper Julie's was on 1mm facets on top of a Knife hard crust 30cm down. The trend over the last few days is that the active weak layers are on sunnier slopes at mid and low elevations.
Snow Profile
Aspect
West
Elevation
10900
Slope Angle
25
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates