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Observation: Cottonwood Canyons

Observation Date
Observer Name
Greg Gagne


Location Name or Route
Cardiff Fork
Wind Direction
Wind Speed
Weather Comments
Mostly light, with some moderate gusts along the ridgetops.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Dense Loose
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments

Despite the warmth & wind, the snow surface is actually quite decent in places with 10-15 cms (4-6") of soft, spongy snow  on top of a supportable base. Wind & warm temps have stiffened the snow surface a bit, and could not get any loose sluffs to move. There was enough wind to cool the snow surface and keep the greenhousing to a minimum at the lower elevations.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Snowpack is showing signs of strengthening, but poor structure remains in place. Just dormant for now.
Snow Profile

Route today was LCC -> BCC through Cardiff. Had not been in Cardiff in three weeks, and when I was last in there was finding very poor snowpack structure. Was looking today in thinner snowpack areas where I was expecting to find the weakest structure, but overall seeing positive signs:

- faceted layers are gaining strength, and showing signs of sintering and rounding (photo below)

- other than a small gradient in the top 10 cms of the snowpack, no temperature gradient.

The latter allows the snowpack to gain strength, although this happens slowly. Regardless, a positive trend.

Photo of snowpit structure with the exception of the top 10 cms, essentially no temperature gradient. (A gradient is defined as a difference of at least 1° C per 10 cms.)

Photos of faceted crystals showing evidence of rounding and sintering (forming bonds between the grains.) This is good!

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