Observation: Bear Trap

Observation Date
12/26/2017
Observer Name
Greg Gagne with Patrice Duvernay

Region:

Location Name or Route
Beartrap Fork
Weather
Sky
Clear
Wind Direction
Northwest
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
Noticed some plumes off of the highest summits from the northwest winds.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Faceted Loose
Wind Crust
Damp
Snow Characteristics Comments

Christmas storm snow has settled out with 10 cms (4") ski pens. This makes for excellent travel and ski conditions where you can ride lower-angled slopes. Surface hoar was found on some wind-sheltered slopes, and some sluffing in the top few cms of snow on steeper shady aspects as the snow at the surface begins to facet. South and west aspects out of the wind will likely have a thin crust on Wednesday morning.

Decent coverage above 8000' in mid-BCC with 45 - 90 cms (18-36").

Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Cracking
Collapsing
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
LOTS of BIG collapses with shooting cracks. Evidence of quite a few natural avalanches in the steeper gully down low in Beartrap, as well as along north/northeast facing West Willow Ridgeline. Also saw what appeared to be a wildlife triggered slide on West Desolation Ridgeline.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments

Collapsing and cracking down 45-60 cms (18-24") in deeper faceted layers. ECT failing on isolation down in faceted snow. Plenty of natural and human-triggered (and likely wildlife) slides running on faceted snow down near the ground.

Comments

The recent storms with dense snow have filled in mid-elevation terrain providing safer options for backcountry travel. With plenty of bulls-eye signs such as continued avalanche activity, booming collapses and cracking, conditions continue to be quite dangerous on steeper slopes.

Photos of

1. Small natural 

2. West Willow Ridgeline (we counted at least 5 pockets that had pulled out naturally)

3. West  Desolation Ridgeline (apparently wildlife triggered) [Thanks to Kristin for the photo!]

Video of extended column failing upon isolation (ECTPV Q1 down 45 cms)

Video

Video of collapsing and cracking on test slopes.

Video
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable
Snow Profile Coordinates