Observation: Cutler Ridge

Observation Date
12/26/2017
Observer Name
L. Dunn, J. Steenburgh

Region:

Location Name or Route
Cutler Ridge
Weather
Sky
Scattered
Wind Direction
Northwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
A mild day, especially at the trailhead. Cloudy with gusty winds up higher.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Density
High
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Dense Loose
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments

Some wind damage to the snow up high, but it was generally dense settled powder and where there was enough of it, the skiing was pretty good.  But, there really isn't enough snow to ski on below 7500', meaning the first 2k of vertical from the trailhead is only doable for ascent and descent on the summer trail.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Cracking
Collapsing
Red Flags Comments
Cracking was widespread along the skin track and the collapsing was nearly continuous as we ascended. And it was loud, I'm not sure I've ever heard the sounds of settlement coming from so far away from where we were standing, it was like rolling thunder on and off for the entire ascent.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Storm Slab
Problem #1 Comments

We dug a pit at 8100', 330 degree aspect.  Total snow depth was 29".  The bottom 4" was very weak facets.  These facets were also present in hasty pits dug all the way up the skin track on all aspects except south.  Above the facets was a fairly uniform snowpack of fist hardness (not hard at all).  Multiple attempts to isolate a column failed as the entire column slid off the facets during the cutting.  Needless to say, the snowpack is very weak and unstable.  We skied only slopes less than 30 degrees without incident.

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