Observation: Moab

Observation Date
02/7/2018
Observer Name
Dave Garcia

Region:

Location Name or Route
Laurel Highway
Weather
Sky
Few
Wind Direction
North
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Moderate winds out of NNW west on ridges, winds were calm in mid and low elevations.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
6"
New Snow Density
Low
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments

I suppose you would call today's snow surface powder. Pretty low density in the morning, definitely was sun affected by the afternoon and getting heavier. 

HS @ Top of Julies: 20-50cm (averaging about 40cm)

HS@ Trees skiers left of Coyote: 73cm

​HS@ Prelude: 92cm

Red Flags
Red Flags
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
No obvious red flags noticed today on my way up to Pre Laurel Peak. Even with the moderate ridge top winds, there is not much snow available for transport and snow plumes off the high peaks were very brief if at all. Poor snowpack structure remains our biggest problem. More on that below.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments

Persistent Slab problem remains the same. The six inches of light density snow did not change much up there. Bottom line is I still don't trust our snow pack to try to ski in avalanche terrain. 

Snow Profile
Aspect
Northwest
Elevation
11200
Slope Angle
20
Comments

Sort of a quick a dirty snow pit today. No stability tests or grain types. I haven't been in the La Sals for over a week and it has been super warm. What I was most interested in looking at today was temperature gradients and if any changes were happening to the facets at the bottom of the pack. Last time I dug a pit in this area there was 13cm of uniform facets at the ground. Today's pit had 15cm of facets at the ground. Under a lense, it is easy to see some noticeable changes happening. At 6cm down to the ground there are large, advance stage facets up to 2mm. There is a distinct change at the 6cm mark. From 15cm down to 6cm the facets are about .75mm and are showing signs of sintering. The bottom of the pack has a small temperature gradient (1 degree per 40cm) which explains the sintering and smaller grain size. With all of that in mind, I still am not confident to jump into avalanche terrain. This is a long process that will take much more time and patience.   

Photo of Talking Mountain Cirque. One of the few places where there appears to be enough snow to ski. Look closely at the photo and you'll see it's looking quite pillowy and wind loaded. Wind load, plus our poor snow pack structure, plus the weight of a skier could be enough to trigger a slide. Looks nice, but I probably wouldn't go there...

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