Observation: Monte Cristo Peak

Observation Date
12/26/2017
Observer Name
Mark Staples

Region:

Location Name or Route
Monte Cristo Area
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
15"
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Red Flags
Red Flags
Cracking
Poor Snowpack Structure
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Problem #1 Comments

Any slope with old, faceted snow has a persistent slab avalanche problem. It's really easy with the sun out today to identify which slopes have this problem.

  • Any slope with full sun didn't have the old weak snow.
  • Any slope in the shade or with partial sun was unstable and had old, weak snow.
Snow Profile
Aspect
Northeast
Elevation
9000
Slope Angle
24
Comments

NOTE about snow profile: Very similar layering seen in the backcountry next to Snowbasin at 8800 feet. The difference is that the bottom 8-10 inches of the snowpack is very very hard snow/ice.

Two photos below of cracking along steep road cuts on shaded aspects.

Video

Conditions have changed a lot since Dec 23. Stabilty has gone down, while coverage has gone up. The denser new snow settled some since Christmas day and you could ride on top of the snow easily. Stepping off the sled, you'd sink to your waist. See photo below of "ski" penetration taken at 8800 feet. Total snow depth just over a meter.

Make sure to have everyone in your group stop and make sure their avalanche transceivers are transmitting. Thanks to the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation and the Golden Spike Snowmobile Association for installing and maintaining this life-saving device.

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