Observation: West Desolation Ridge

Observation Date
01/11/2018
Observer Name
Hardesty, Wilson, Torrey, Diegel

Region:

Location Name or Route
West Willow/Bear Trap/West Deso Ridgeline
Weather
Sky
Broken
Precipitation
Light Snowfall
Weather Comments
A few minutes of S1 precip just prior to noon. No wind to speak of. Patches of blue allowed some of the sunny aspects to go off; though could be hit or miss across the range.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
3"
New Snow Density
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Wind Crust
Damp
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Wind Loading
Cracking
Collapsing
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Some localized, some widely propagating collapses today. Cracking in both wind pillows and into the poor structure.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments

We remotely triggered two SS-ASr-2-O persistent slab avalanches today on steep north facing slopes at 9600' from along the top of the West Deso ridgeline.  You can find them here and here.  


I've spent a fair bit of time on the north side of BCC and have found the weak Oct and Nov...and to some degree the faceted Christmas storm to be a near blend of facets and depth hoar. The crowns ranged from 1-2' deep and up to 300' wide and broke generally on fist hard facets from early December; however the slab itself (below the most recent few inches of wind slab and decomposing/fragmented storm snow) was itself a slab of 4f-1f rounding facets.  Profile in avalanche obs linked above.  


Interesting to note that only one of four ECTs in representative (perhaps more wind drifted) terrain prior to the remotely triggered slides elicited full propagation...again a note about tests being only a tool in the toolbox and conservatively weighing the lone "unstable" result over the others; particularly knowing the structure and general conditions.

Snow Profile
Aspect
East
Elevation
9100
Video
Today's Observed Danger Rating
High
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable
Snow Profile Coordinates