Observation: Cardiff Peak

Observation Date
01/9/2018
Observer Name
mark white

Region:

Location Name or Route
Cardiff Peak north
Weather
Sky
Obscured
Precipitation
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
In and out visibility, with light to moderate snowfall, moderate wind speeds out of the SW, strong enough to move even the dense new snow.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
4"
New Snow Density
High
Snow Surface Conditions
Dense Loose
Damp
Snow Characteristics Comments

Snow rain line was hovering a little above 8'000ft around 11:00 am and there was about 2 inches of damp dense snow at the Alta Guard increasing to 4 to 5 inches on top of Cardiff Peak. The snow below 9,000ft was damp and saturated and would roller-ball on steeper slopes, once you were above 9,000ft the snow was still extremely dense but was a bit drier.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Cracking
Collapsing
Poor Snowpack Structure
Comments

Wanted to have a look and see if the new dense snow was overloading our weak snow pack yet, ventured up over Cardiff Peak and had a look at the N facing slopes below it. As soon as stepping on the more northerly facing slopes with facets underlying the new dense snow collapsing was experienced, with localized cracking. Dropped a few small cornices on the N facing with no results, that being said the cornices were just babies with not much weight to them. The feel of the snow pack alone was upside down, inverted and hollow, and the collapsing just confirmed that the snow pack was getting sensitive, cranky and not liking the new load. I would think that avalanches are inevitable but I left before the continued snowing and wind loading from the SW overloaded any slopes. I did note what looked to be a fresh crown in the top of Tiger Tail under the cliffs which seems to make sense seeing that it was just above or at the same elevation as the rain-snow line. The new snow seemed fairly well bonded to the melt-freeze crust on the south facing due to it coming in so wet.

Photos: snowball made on the top of Cardiff Peak 10'100ft to show how dense and damp the snow was at that elevation and the SW winds transporting snow to the N facing on the ridge separating Cardiff Fork from LCC

I think todays hazard was verging on considerable on the mid and high elevation steeper N facing terrain and will be most certainly in that range tomorrow or higher depending on new snow amounts and wind.

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