Observation: Cardiff Fork

Observation Date
Observer Name
Cody Hughes


Location Name or Route
Cardiff Fork
Moderate Snowfall
Wind Direction
Wind Speed
Weather Comments
Was in the mountains from 7:30 to 11am. Light rain below 8,800ft. Heavy dense snow falling above that. Warm and windy drifting snow along the ridgelines.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
New Snow Density
Snow Surface Conditions
Snow Characteristics Comments

Saturated and unsupportable at the rain snow line. Very dense snow above that. Made for a long slow sticky exit out of Cardiff fork.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Loading
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Biggest red flag of the day was the Collapsing and Cracking. It was quite spooky. Every other step was associated with large collapses and at times shooting cracks. It was blowing and snowing forming dense slabs on top of our fragile snowpack. The poor structure now has the load...
Avalanche Problem #1
Persistent Slab
Problem #1 Comments

The setup is now there. Strong over weak. I feel like I left the mountains just as the scales were being tipped or stress was out weighing the strength. I felt as if things were about to come unglued. The collapses today were full on and a sign that we have Persistent weak layers that are being reactivated with the new snow and wind especially with the water or SWE that was accompaning that new snow. I expect a natural avalanche cycle tonight and into tomorrow. 

Avalanche Problem #2
Wind Slab
Problem #2 Comments

Winds are blowing and transporting new snow on top of our poorly structured snowpack. Any wind slab triggered has the potential to step down to weaker layers deeper in the snowpack and could potentially propagate a lot farther than expected. 


Snowpit - NE 9750ft 27 degree slope.

 Height of snow was 110cm and the failure occurs 55cm down on the facets formed during the long period of high pressure in December (before the christmas storm).

**Its important to note that when doing an ECT the main focus is propagation across the column and not so much the sheer quality or (Q number). In this test we get an ECTP 22 SC. Not a super clean sheer but nonetheless a propagation across the entire column and sudden collapse.


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