Observation: Uintas

Observation Date
04/11/2017
Observer Name
Zimmerman Wall

Region:

Location Name or Route
Kletting Peak/A1 Peak
Weather
Sky
Few
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
General weather was cold and clear with intermittent bouts of moderate wind and very light snowfall over the course of our three day camp/ski trip. The storm lingered Sunday and then went blue Monday, and grey on Tuesday. Coldest temps observed were minus 25c at 10,500 ft, which occurred just after the departing storm. Warming occurred through the next 48 and temps became more reasonable. Winds kept things cool in high alpine.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
6"
New Snow Density
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Wind Crust
Melt-Freeze Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments
The Uintas are bigger than I remember and the spatial variability is a pronounced factor when looking at snow quality and stability. The freshly fallen snow was very reactive on solar aspects where an underlying crust was present. Wind transport had also loaded a good portion of this new snow into small catchments that ran just off ridgelines. The sun and wind quickly did their work on Monday and Tuesday and riding conditions deteriorated on all but sheltered North.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Wind Loading
Red Flags Comments
Observed evidence of natural small wind slabs failing during storm (up to 30' x 8" x 250') and loose wet on steepest East facing slopes near rock bands. Cornices were massive and pretty locked up on the highest ridgelines. Small drifts along ridgelines were sensitive to skiers, but entrained little snow on their descent and packed no punch. Continued wind loading from the SW has likely made this problem greater than before.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments
The home of the wind never disappoints and these slabs vary in thickness and distribution. Extensive damage on upper portions of the Kletting and A1 complex was evident and the typical scour/load pattern existed on the NW through NE faces where the wind was swirling through the drainage.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Loose Wet Snow
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments
Expect this to be an issue with the continued warming temps, although will happen in predictable fashion. With amazing coverage throughout the range, corn hunting will be in full effect where smooth surfaces exist, but plan exits accordingly in committing terrain.
Comments
Photos are from several days during trip: 1. Wind slab on steep East facing ridge off Kletting Peak 2. Upper reaches of Kletting where wind was moving snow. By the trips end, much of the N facing slopes up high were striped by swirling winds. 3. East face of A1 showing good coverage and some small wind drifts on ridgelines 4. Leeward rib on Kletting where wind was depositing soft, skiable snow.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates