Observation: Monte Cristo

Observation Date
02/2/2018
Observer Name
Staples and Meisenheimer

Region:

Location Name or Route
Monte Cristo Peak and Whisky Hill
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Wind Direction
West
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Wind was still able to move some snow and load Whiskey Hill. See video below. Otherwise, very warm day. Snow in the wall of our snowpits was getting damp quickly due to warm wind.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Characteristics Comments

There was no rime crust on the surface at the beginning of the week. There is one now. Could be a melt freeze crust but looked more like rain or rime.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
You still sink to your waist into buried facets on northerly/easterly facing slopes although you can stay on top with skis or a machine.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Problem #1 Comments

Surface hoar buried 10 inches deep seems to be affected by the warmth. The slab of snow on top of it has definitely changed and maybe the surface hoar has gained strength. Regardless of what the cause, it seems less reactive. Additionally, we shoveled snow on top of the snowpack in one area and left for an hour or two to let it sinter. When we came back, the surface hoar remained unreactive in stability test despite the artificial load of snow on top.

The main concern remains facets about a foot above the ground. I'd be surprised to hear of an avalanche on them now. With the next storm (whenever that is), they could get active again but it may take >1" of snow water equivalent.

Snow Profile
Aspect
East
Elevation
8800
Slope Angle
21
Comments

Photo below of our pit location on Whiskey Hill

Video below of wind loading. Not much, but enough for me to stay off it.

Selected LOW danger because slides seem unlikely but not impossible. It's a toss up between MOD or LOW with the buried facets that still spill out of the snowpit. We were discussing the danger rating in the parking lot and one guy overheard us. His thought was that avalanches can happen when it's a low danger....that's just the way nature works. So, for this ob for the Monte Cristo area I'm saying LOW. Honestly, I'd be really surprised to hear of an avalanche in that area.

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