Observation: West Desolation Ridge

Observation Date
01/25/2018
Observer Name
Andrew Nassetta

Region:

Location Name or Route
West Desolation
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Strong
Weather Comments
Wind was blowing all day and picked up in the afternoon with gusts surely reaching 40mph. Temps were warm with a bit of bite from the wind and moisture in the air.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Wind Crust
Melt-Freeze Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments
Southern aspects were crusted over and stripped of snow. Low angle protected slopes provided the best riding conditions.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Cracking
Poor Snowpack Structure
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
Wind definitely found snow on the southern slopes for transport, slabs were found formed along the highest ridge lines, and drifts were found up to 40cm deep.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments
Weak layers were found near the ground, the same layers that have proved problematic on similar slopes throughout the range recently.
Snow Profile
Aspect
North
Elevation
9700
Slope Angle
22
Comments
Test results did not satisfy expectations of results seen on similar slopes recently but we didn't need tests to tell us that the persistent weak layers are present down deep in our snowpack near the ground. Still found the and most safe and best riding conditions in mellow sheltered terrain, away from the wind and loading.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
High
Snow Profile Coordinates