Observation: Mirror Lake Highway

Observation Date
01/23/2018
Observer Name
Mark Staples

Region:

Location Name or Route
Bald Mtn
Weather
Weather Comments
Beautiful blues skies, cool temps, and fresh powder.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Weak snow is easy to observe - just step off your sled and you'll sink to the ground (unless you're standing on an old track).
Snow Profile
Comments

Plenty of weak faceted snow to find. In some places, the snow from about two weeks ago is faceted with soft snow from this weekend on top of a pile of facets. You can almost use a broom to dig a snowpit. See photo below of the snowpit graphed above.

After the second snowpit we broke an A-arm and had to head home. All the snow we looked at was lacking a slab and a load to be unstable. It was very weak but not unstable because this lack of a slab and a load. We suspected that in less sheltered locations, we could find a slab of wind blown snow that would make the snowpack unstable. Unfortunatley we had to limp back to the truck. This suspicion was confirmed when we heard about 3 snowmobile triggered slides a little further north near Upper Moffit Basin.

Below is a graph and photo of a South facing slope under Bald Mountain. I was surprised by how deep it was and how faceted it was. It's not nearly as bad as northerly (or shaded) aspects, but could produce persistent slab avalanches if we got a decent storm.

We observed a Low danger in sheltered terrain becuase the snowpack is mostly a sandbox. In other words it's all loose and faceted with just some light powder on top. Head higher into wind affected terrain and the danger would be higher.

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