Observation: Steam Mill Canyon

Observation Date
01/27/2018
Observer Name
Sisneros Kidd

Region:

Location Name or Route
Steam Mill Canyon
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Precipitation
Moderate Snowfall
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
3"
New Snow Density
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments
Deep, medium density powder on the N and E aspects, with the occasional stiff wind slab. Lower elevations, below about 7500', the new snow capped off facets to the ground.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Cracking
Collapsing
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Heard lots of collapsing in mid elevations on W facing slopes where the snowpack was lower. Consistent SW to W winds continued to load N and E aspects throughout the day. We dug a pit at 8288' on a N facing slope and performed a compression test with a result of CTMSC@40cm, and got an ECTX. The compression test was done in a spot in the pit where a rock had pushed the weak layer higher up in the snowpack.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments
Even though those weak layers are getting buried deeper with these last couple storms, as the tests above demonstrated, all it takes is a rock or some other spatial variability in the slope to push those weak layers higher up to where a rider can affect them and cause the whole slope to propagate. We're not out of the woods yet.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Same
Snow Profile
Aspect
North
Elevation
8300
Slope Angle
30
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable
Snow Profile Coordinates