Observation: Cutler Ridge

Observation Date
02/24/2018
Observer Name
Bill Brandt

Region:

Location Name or Route
Cutler
Weather
Sky
Obscured
Precipitation
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
West
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Occasional sunbreaks early. Light snow late morning becoming heavier by 4 pm. Moderate winds with strong gusts moving yesterdays delightful snow into firm wind slabs.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
2"
New Snow Density
Low
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments

Wind created a surface that was dense with lighter snow underneath. This made the ski tips submarine.  Some wind scoured areas. Widespread wind damage even in the trees which are usually wind protected.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Cracking
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Today's wind complely changed the game from yesterday. Wind slabs everywhere above the weather station. No natural activity was noted on the Ben Lomond Willard headwall.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Problem #1 Comments

Wind slabs were triggered remotely while setting the skin track. I saw 2 we trigered below the "dead tree" and another party trigered one in the same region. These cracked out above us.  The  slopes were 20 degrees at best. We skinned to the top of Cutler. Ski cut Bailey Cabin with minimal results. Released a couple of soft slabs which had little energy and didn't travel far. Party voted not to ski Baileys. We choose to ski lower slope angles. Every steeper rollover on the way down responded to ski cuts with cracking or slabs that broke loose and traveled short distances. It was easy to trap your skis underneath the slabs.

These slabs will be covered with forecasted new snow tomorrow and will be much harder to indentify.

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Persistent Slab
Problem #2 Comments

Nothing yet, but it is snowing hard tonight. Perhaps this is the load that will awaken the buried weaknesses.

Comments

The recent new snow was mostly stable, the winds chaged all that. Lower elevations were not hit as hard by the wind and skied well albeit the coverage is so thin below 7500 ft that I hit several buried rocks and logs. Most ski exits of Cutler remain to brushy to ski out except the Cutler Ridge trail. This trail is now snow covered down to the park where you can ski groomed trails to your car.

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