Observation: Little Cottonwood Canyon

Observation Date
12/21/2017
Observer Name
Patrick Fink

Region:

Location Name or Route
Dry Fork
Weather
Sky
Broken
Precipitation
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
Northeast
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Intermittent cloudbreaks with gusting wind into the 30s. Very light precipitation throughout the day without significant accumulation,
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
5"
New Snow Density
Low
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Dense Loose
Snow Characteristics Comments
Low density snow on wind sheltered slopes, 4 to 5" new. Dense loose snow in leeward areas, which were distributed in a complex fashion from NE~NW~SW on ridges about 10k'.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Cracking
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Active wind loading during the day onto SE to SW slopes with deposits 10 to 20" in depth on leeward slopes. Some cracking without propagation in these new wind drifts. Broke free some small soft wind slabs in steeper terrain which went at ski width and ran only 10 to 15 feet before breaking apart. Overall snowpack structure remains very poor with basal facets. Current load appears inadequate to cause collapsing.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
All aspects but Northerly on the high ridgelines. Small, isolated, not propagating, could produce a small, loose avalanche in terrain steeper than 35d.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Deep Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments
Widely distributed faceting with variable overlying faceting crust. Current load not producing results. Nothing really to add to weeks worth of obs here. Calling danger the same for now, though the minor load from this storm pushes the danger up slightly.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates