Observation: Wolverine Cirque

Observation Date
01/21/2018
Observer Name
Sean Burkhart

Region:

Location Name or Route
Wolverine Cirque
Weather
Sky
Obscured
Precipitation
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Obscured skies with light snowfall made for low visibility this morning. SW winds varying from low to moderate transporting snow easily as well as new snow still slowly accumulating.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
14"
New Snow Density
Low
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments
14" of new low density Utah blower since the beginning of the storm on Friday. Right side up. Evidence of wind loading predominantly on NE facing slopes, but seems as if the winds were blowing in multiple directions throughout the duration of the storm.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Loading
Cracking
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
The new snow is right side up but there are still many slopes that haven't slid yet likely sitting on a persistent weak layer, now loaded with even more weight. No signs of persistent slab avalanches in the area though. New snow is super low density and will run down steeper slopes very easily. Multiple loose sluffs 10ft wide and 30 to 50 yards long triggered easily on slopes above 35 degrees. A few small cornices and large wind drifts forming from the SW winds and they were cracked off easily. Easy to get cracks shooting on ridges did get a decent sized wind slab to shatter on a steeper E facing slope at about 10500' with some of the slab sliding likely to the bottom of Wolverine Cirque/Patsey Marly. No natural slides observed in the cirque but visibility was low so hard to tell for sure.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments
Still a very spooky problem. With the added weight of the new snow, we could see some deep slabs breaking off in areas that still haven't slid (which appears to be a lot of slopes).
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments
Soft wind slabs have been forming and seem easy to trigger. With the moderate SW winds blowing most of the morning, I'd expect the danger of triggering soft wind slabs to increase throughout the day.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable
Snow Profile Coordinates