Observation: Maybird Gulch

Observation Date
01/14/2018
Observer Name
Dana Holmes

Region:

Location Name or Route
Maybird Gulch
Weather
Sky
Clear
Weather Comments
Very pleasant day for travel in the high country. Temperatures were in the high teens in the lower points in the drainages early in the day, quickly warming to mid30s and above in the open terrain by mid day.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Dense Loose
Faceted Loose
Wind Crust
Damp
Snow Characteristics Comments
Fast and fun skiing on low angle sheltered slopes. Snow conditions were mostly dense, settled powder. Lots of "loud powder" on the shady N/NE aspects where the facet machine seems to have been cranking at full strength since the last storm. To further reinforce this point, we found several areas where wind crust/slab from had already almost completely decomposed under the current high pressure. This area is usually prone to getting pillaged by the alpine winds, so we were pleasantly surprised to find very little wind affect overall. The high winds on the tail end of the storm seem to have been contained to the higher peaks and ridges in this area, leaving the basins mostly unaffected. Sunny south/west facing getting sticky by the afternoon (wax your skis!)
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Cracking
Collapsing
Red Flags Comments
Didn't bother to dig because the snowpack is still screaming. Loud, widespread collapsing and some shooting cracks on all sheltered terrain NW through E facing. The snowpack below 8500ft on the treed ridges in Red Pine and Maybird was particularly alarming: about 2ft settled depth, with sugary snow from the ground up, a pronounced rain crust, and more decomposing snow on top. This is usually considered "safe" terrain, but with the current snowpack, I've thrown all assumptions out the window. We got a lot of small collapses on the weak layer under the rain crust and saw old and new stress cracks on some small rollovers. I am expecting it to be easy to trigger some small but possibly deep slides in unusual places on the weak low/mid elevation snowpack once we get another load on it later this week.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable
Snow Profile Coordinates