Observation: Cutler Ridge

Observation Date
01/20/2018
Observer Name
Derek DeBruin

Region:

Location Name or Route
Cutler Ridge
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Precipitation
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
Northeast
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
S- to S1 snowfall on and off throughout the day, with snowfall increasing into the afternoon. Winds were generally light and increased with increasing elevation. Uncharacteristic for Ben Lomond, the winds were moderate at the saddle with minimal wind effect, little wind crusting, no fresh wind slabs noted for the moment. Temps were in the 20s F, in the teens at the saddle. Generally a pleasant storm day, with good turns from the saddle to the LZ.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
7"
New Snow Density
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments

Dust on crust powder skiing. Snow was a bit lighter than I expected, not blower by any means, but cetainly still powder. Seems to be bonding pretty well to the underlying crust; occasional moments on the skin track when sidehilling saw some slipping on the crust below and a turn would occasionally scrape to the crust, but in general decent bonding and good riding conditions.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Snowpack structure is as poor as ever. The "glacial ice" at the bottom is being eaten up with facets below and is topped by deteriorating crusts and loose snow sandwiches. The upper crust as we found it was 17cm thick and bridging very well. We didn't have to break out the saw to dig a pit today, but busting through it require some decent shoveling effort. Above the crust is the remains of the last bits of snow after the rain event (that formed the crust), with the fresh snow on top of that.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Loose Dry Snow
Problem #1 Comments

Plenty of opportunities for sluffing today, but didn't note any avalanches while we were out and didn't cause anything noteworthy to happen while we were skiing.

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Persistent Slab
Problem #2 Comments

The new "ground level" on the crust seems to be supportive, but a large storm load could make it more reactive. Below the crust it's definitely a junk show and worth it to pay attention.

Snow Profile
Aspect
Northwest
Elevation
7800
Slope Angle
20
Comments

We dug atop Dead Tree Knob before heading into the steeper terrain. The pit didn't seem to be quite representative of the rest of the snow based on hand pits and other informal tests. The 85 to 72cm layer seemed to be more old snow than fell after the last rain and had some softer snow beneath it, atop the crust. I suspect there may have been some wind effect that packed the snow in a bit harder onto the crust there. Otherwise, the profile is pretty representative. Depth hoar, a number of deteriorating crusts and loose snow above, thick rain crust, and new snow at the top.

Chris with blocks of the thick crust.

Not the best photo, but noted no new avalanche activity. Everything along the headwall appears to be the same older slides that Doug Wewer posted last week.

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