Observation: Huntington Canyon

Observation Date
12/25/2017
Observer Name
Kobernik

Region:

Location Name or Route
Dam study plot/Sluff Cuts
Weather
Sky
Scattered
Wind Direction
West
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
Clearing skies late in the PM.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
5"
New Snow Density
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions
Dense Loose
Snow Characteristics Comments

5" @ .5" H2O at the study plot.  About 7 inches along the Skyline Summit.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Wind Loading
Cracking
Collapsing
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Yep, it's all there. No rocket science needed. Of note, the observed avalanche was not in Huntington Canyon.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Problem #1 Comments

While checking snow and water at the Dam study plot, (North Candland trailhead) I noticed that a snowmobiler had remotely collapsed the cut-bank above the pullout.  It cracked over 100 feet long but didn't release.  2" of VERY weak faceted snow was no doubt the culprit.  Last week's low density snow has settled and gained some body.  Another 5 inches of higher density snow with wind added on top of last week's snow has now created a slab.  I was somewhat surprised that only 2" of faceted snow was enough to cause this type of collapse and propagation.


 

Comments

Currently, the avalanche danger in Huntington Canyon is fairly LOW.  In general, there is not enough snow to be a concern as of now.  However, there is enough snow in many starting zones to be of concern if it facets and turns into weak sugar snow over the next couple of weeks.

Conditions in Huntington Canyon are much different right now compared to higher on the Manti-Skyline proper where the majority of recreation takes place.  Higher on the Skyline, the terrain is holding a lot more weak snow on the north facing slopes.

Photo below, snowmobile track and crack along the cut bank.

Photo below, snowpack structure.  From the top down, 5" new snow from today, 5" settled snow from last week, 2" of depth hoar.

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