Observation: Wolverine Peak

Observation Date
01/7/2018
Observer Name
B

Region:

Location Name or Route
Wolverine Bowl via Millicent, descent to Lake Marth and Dog Lake Chutes
Weather
Sky
Clear
Wind Direction
West
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
Clear Skies with temperatures overnight and into the morning typically cold. The low angle sun kept the temperatures feeling cool throughout the day above 9500 feet. Mid elevations definitelsy warmed up with upper 30's at 8700 and into the 40's at 8000. Westerly winds were in the light range in the upper elevations and there was light wind blow and or transport observed.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
4"
New Snow Density
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Dense Loose
Wind Crust
Damp
Snow Characteristics Comments

As a result of the upper elevation winds, the snow surface in this region was more dense and thick, yet it was still descent riding. The best riding was out of the wind affected terrain down off the upper ridgelines, and all the way down into the mid elevations. In all areas, the old tracks, even from Saturday, were erased and the old faceted snow surfaces provided a spongy/rebounding surface for good turns in the 4 to 5 inches of new snow. Wind damage appeared to be continuing throughout the day in the upper elevation exposed terrain. Southerly aspects with slope angles of 25 degrees and greater were getting damp by 1100 hours and crust will be an issue on Monday. 

Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Wind Loading
Rapid Warming
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Minimal reports of avalanches on Saturday due to the poor visibility may be updated by the end of the day on Sunday, but including the slide reported today on Tuscarora, it appears there was at least a small avalanche cycle during the day on Saturday. Even in protected areas the new snow retained a slab like character that would be categorized as a very soft slab. The prestorm surface of NSF's, and the addtion of the new snow appears to have helped maintain this obvious weak new snow interface. Due to the minimal amount of new snow, this slab appears to be totally manageble and not a concern; and the water content from the storm did not appear to be enough to cause serious problems. The only place where there may be any kind of significant concerns may be in the highest elevation wind loaded terrain, and with the velocities at the highest remote weather stations registering red flag readings, caution should be followed in this isolated zone. Temperatures spiked today below 9000 feet and the forecast for Monday appears to be at least another 5 degrees warmer. Breezy southerly winds and steady snowfall expected to begin on Monday night for at least 72 hours may be enough to reactivate the weak layers that exist throughout our entire snowpack.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Decreasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments

As stated above, the number one concern that appeared to exist on Sunday was wind slabs in the highest elevations on N, NE and E facing terrain. 

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments

Despite minimal activity from this latest event, the presence of PWL's throughout our snowpack appear to indicate the need to keep this problem listed as a concern, and the increasing winds alone on Monday may be enough to have isolated areas become suspect. As stated above, by Tuesday and into the week, the forecast appears to have enough loading anticipated to drive us back into another widespread avalanche cycle. 

Along with all of this, Mondays forecast for temperatures into the mid 40's may help initiate more small wet loose activity on the southerly aspects, and get them going at elevations above 8500 feet on the steeper slopes. 

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