Observation: Mountain Sheep Canyon

Observation Date
01/22/2018
Observer Name
Toddeo

Region:

Location Name or Route
Pahvants - Mountain Sheep Canyon
Weather
Sky
Clear
Wind Speed
Calm
Weather Comments
A nice day and a big change from yesterday.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
12"
New Snow Density
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments

HST = 8-12", settled in this area. Mostly sitting on a crust that made for easy travel.  Well bonded to the crust.
 

Red Flags
Red Flags Comments
No real red flags today. Facets that were observed in pits on N and W aspects were chained and based on some stability testing do not appear to be much of an issue. I think this is due to the warm weather that occurred this season at these elevations (8,300 to 8,500). Photos below.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Normal Caution
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments

Normal caution for traveling in a thin snow pack.

Moderate hazard, due to the presence of above described facets in low density areas below denser snow.  Not a right side up profile.

Snow Profile
Aspect
West
Elevation
8300
Slope Angle
25
Comments

HS-24" Gloves are sitting on crusts.  The lower is melt/freeze and the upper wind/warm.  Basal facets below the lower crust are chained (photo below).  ECTN in this area.  I was able to only collapse the area where the force was applied until in compressed to the ground, similar to the photo in my 2nd pit.

Photos:

1 Terrain

2. Chained facets.

An additional pit on a north aspect in upper Copleys Canyon.  HS-28".

Photos:

1. Pit showing the same crusts as in snow profile.  Of note there is a knife+ hard crust sitting on the ground.  Above this crust are chained facets sitting below the melt/freeze crust.

2. Chained facets.

3.  ECTN

4.  Terrain photo, The only reason I did not ski this area was I ran out of time after a rather long approach.

Photo below:  Typical west facing terrain in Mountain Sheep Canyon.  Still a thin snow pack and early season conditions.

Overall, I did not see any sign of wind affect that I saw 2,000+ feet higher yesterday in the Tushers,  I would say moderate hazard mainly because of the facets which appear to be healing but still are not that far below the surface.

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