Observation: Twin Lakes Pass

Observation Date
12/29/2017
Observer Name
Kosinski

Region:

Location Name or Route
Twin Lakes Pass (North Ridge)
Weather
Sky
Clear
Wind Direction
Northwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Wind had moderate speed with stronger gusts on ridge line.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Dense Loose
Snow Characteristics Comments
Snow has started to pack down a bit from wind and sun. Snowpit was below the leeward (east) side of the ridge line.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Recent avalanche on similar slope one chute over. Snowpit showed the facet layer we have been dealing with all winter.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Cornice
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
Wind has formed cornices in the area and with the good amount of new snow in the last week, some of these cornices are getting big. Only saw one that had broken off a small chunk but did not cause an avalanche. With wind Friday and lighter wind predicted throughout the week, this is a problem that could further develop into something bigger.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments
The snowpit showed two very distinct layers: facets and light but compacted snow. While it did take quite a lot to break the ECT, when it did break it was on the facet/crust and new snow layer. The facets are creating a persistent slab problem that could be very reactive if the conditions are right.
Snow Profile
Aspect
East
Elevation
10100
Slope Angle
40
Comments
Snow depth: 110 cm Ground to 45 cm: Sugary facets. When I dug the pit, the facets were falling out of the snowpack. 45cm to 110 cm: A single, cohesive layer made of dense (compacted) snow, mainly from the last storms. Layer density was fist. Did an ECT and it did not break, even from the shoulder. Curious as to what would make this fail, I kept going and eventually got a fairly sudden break on the facet/crust layer and the top cohesive layer.
Conditions are quite variable between fairly close locations. I had two small sluff avalanches occur today in chutes. While small, these could have easily knocked me down and carried me a bit. The snowpack is still shallow and although an avalanche may be small, hitting a rock or two can make the ride much worse. Below is a photo from a natural persistent slab avalanche in a chute off of the Twin Lakes Pass North Ridge that did not attach to the avalanche report I submitted.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates