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PROFESSIONAL OBSERVATION FORM
 Start Date: 12.20.17 Name: VandenBos Operation: SAC
 Drainage/Route:  Galena Peak Observed Terrain:  7,300-11,100' Zone/Region:  Smoky & Boulder Mountains
WEATHER OBSERVATIONS
 HN24: HST: 10cm Sky: VAR Precip: S-1 Temps:
 Ridgeline Wind: Light and Intermittent from the N
 Blowing Snow: L Snow Available for Transport: Small amounts
 Comments: Temps dropped through the afternoon, it felt nice to be cold again.
AVALANCHE OBSERVATIONS
None Reported
 Comments: Observed no natural avalanche activity during my tour.
AVALANCHE PROBLEM ASSESSMENT
Avalanche Characteristics
Character/Avalanche Problem:
Wind Slab

Layer/Depth:


Likelihood of Triggering
Sensitivity:
Stubborn

Spatial Distribution:

Terrain
  Primary Concern Comments: Observed slabs in terrain leeward to S/SW winds as well as in terrain exposed to "secondary" winds.
 
Avalanche Characteristics
Character/Avalanche Problem:
Dry Loose

Layer/Depth:


Likelihood of Triggering
Sensitivity:


Spatial Distribution:

Terrain
  Problem 2 Comments: Probably an issue anywhere the slope is steep and the new snow is unconsolidated
STABILITY TESTS
 Stability Test Results:
OBVIOUS SIGNS OF INSTABILITY
 Marked with checkmark if observed:
 Cracking (isolated)    
SNOW STABILITY
 Snow Stability Rating for your observed area: Confidence: Trend:
BOTTOM LINE
 Comments: In general, quite a bit less touchy than it might have been. Even slabs on slopes in the upper 30s were pretty stubborn and despite a good amount of effort and sniffing around I wasn't able to get anything to crack more than a ski length in front of me Wind transport during/just after storm had been from S/SW but winds had swapped around to the N after frontal passage. Light N winds were transporting small amounts of snow, but its always tough to pick the snow up and move it for a second time without some serious wind. As observed in the Sawtooths on 12/19, an upper elevation riming event seemed to helped to deal with the near surface facets from the two weeks of high and dry. Visibility was in and out but I was able to do some decent glassing and I observed no natural avalanche activity in the course of the tour. I drove up to the pass before skiing and did see a small crown in that nasty little gully just north of the pass proper, where the wind is always moving tons of snow around.