Observation: Ogden

Observation Date
11/15/2017
Observer Name
Bill Hunt

Region:

Location Name or Route
Snowbasin backcountry, and Powder Mountain
Weather
Sky
Scattered
Wind Speed
Moderate
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Damp
Snow Characteristics Comments

There is some interest in how much snow remains currently in the Ogden mountains, ahead of the incoming storm, so I took some telephoto images today of some areas of interest. 

A quick hand pit at 8800', north-facing, near the Powder Mountian summit road showed 6" of snow remaining, with a wind-affected dense surface, and some loose older faceted snow underneath, fist density. However the warm temps, in the mid-40s, made the whole snowpack somewhat damp. The facets were not completely unconsolidated, like early season snow can be. If the coming storm starts with rain, that may further consolidate the old existing snow, and hopefully reduce the hazard at ground level. 

Red Flags
Red Flags
Poor Snowpack Structure
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Normal Caution
Problem #1 Comments

Its possible to go skinning right now, and I did see someone doing that the other day, but the rock-hitting factor would be high for any downhill turns. 

Comments

Here is a view of Mt Ogden (with the towers), and Malan's Basin, today. The NW facing ramp holds a bit of snow down to 8000 feet in elevation. In my first few years in the area, I used to think this ramp was pretty much always safe, but then I saw it slide naturally one year, from the trees in the starting zone, and run about a thousand feet. It doesn't slide like that often, but it can happen, particularly when a bad layer exists near the ground from early season snow. 

Moving to the NW chute on Mt Allen, here is are some views of the Banana chute. This view is looking SE, at the NW  exposures. In early and mid-winter, this area is more shaded, and acts more like North exposures. (In late winter the higher sun angles hit this area with more sun, and the west slopes can really get baked in the afternoon.)

Again there is very little snow below 8000-8200 feet. In the zoomed photo of the Mt Allen summit, with the Mens Start shack on the left,  there is a bit more snow amongst the abundant rocks, probably similar to the 6" depth that was present at 8800 feet at Powder Mountain. 

Moving to the North, NNE, and NE aspects in Hells canyon, there looks to be a bit more snow at the top of those avalanche paths, in the 8500 to 9000' elevations. It would be great if the coming storm rains a bit on these notoriously dangerous starting zones, to consolidate the old snow layer that exists right now. This view is looking south from the Powder Mountain summit road. 

Finally, a view of the NE aspects north of Ben Lomond peak, also holding enough early season snow to be a problem, unless the warm temps and some rain consolidate it. This view is from the Powder Mountain summit road. 

Today's Observed Danger Rating
Low
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Low
Snow Profile Coordinates