Observation: Salt Lake

Observation Date
03/3/2018
Observer Name
T Diegel, Patterson, Gregersen

Region:

Location Name or Route
Silver Fork Meadows
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Wind Direction
West
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
It was clear from the debris on the slope that the winds have been cranking, but they were generally light/moderate over the ridgetop during the day.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments

This generally-east facing area has rolls that provide good NE-E-SE rolls that show a variety of snow surfaces.  SE had a 1-2cm sun crust on it, E and NE had wind-buffed powder

Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Problem #1 Comments

At higher/more exposed locations wind slabs would have been a major concern today with the last couple of days' sustained winds.  However, the lower Days/Silver ridgeline doesn't harbor as much transportable snow as some other areas due to the steep/treed/cliffed nature of the Days side.  

Comments

Mostly we were interested in what will happen next.  We dug a few quick pits on NE/E/SE and found a variety of slabs, crusts, and facets, and we found ourselves using this year's common refrain of "We don't like the structure".  Until there's the thump of a new load it seems to me to be a bit theoretical, but apparently that much-anticipated thump is about to be applied.  Seems like there are a few things that could happen:

  • with 10-20 inches of snow and new wind there will undoubtedly be new snow avalanches.
  • that said, it seems like it's coming in generally right side up and because of the big wind there won't be any surface hoar, and the new snow should (???) bond decently well to the wind-affected and sun-crusted slopes.  
  • anywhere between 1 and 4 feet down - depending on elevation and aspect - there are slabs and crusts that at this point break out with a fair bit of effort but do so cleanly and with energy, and a nice big windloaded storm might be enough of a thump?  
  • It's still a December snowpack with facets at the ground, and as that slide in Mineral earlier this week showed, step-downs to the ground are still a frightening possibility. 

Nothing here that plenty of people have already noted, but I've been gone so it was good for me to note what's been happening lately in anticipation of this much-anticipated storm.  

 

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