Close
PROFESSIONAL OBSERVATION FORM
 Start Date: 01.07.19 Name: Savage, James - OFF DUTY Operation: SAC
 Drainage/Route:  Galena Summit: Cross OFF DUTY Observed Terrain:  8350-9200', SE-E-NE Zone/Region:  Smoky & Boulder Mountains
WEATHER OBSERVATIONS
 HN24: ? HST: 30-40cm Sky: CLR Precip: Temps: 10-15F
 Ridgeline Wind: Moderate and Intermittent from the NW
 Blowing Snow: M Snow Available for Transport: Large amounts
 Comments: Winds moving snow on Titus Ridge above the lake and Weather Station Peak all day, but a fair amount appeared to be sublimating. Ridgtop loading patterns indicated that winds moved snow from different directions during and after the storm (initially south to north and then more generally north to south).
AVALANCHE OBSERVATIONS
 No. Location Date Size Type Trigger Aspect Elevation Comments
  Gladiator Pk Today 3 U N W 10000' Peak between Gladiator and Western Home Cks. Estimated >800' wide, broke near ridgeline in obviously wind-loaded, alpine terrain.
 2 Galena Peak Today 2 U N NW 10600' 2 slides on NW face of Galena Peak, both in obviously wind-loaded alpine terrain. Possibly a 3rd slide as well, tough to tell without good binoculars.
 Comments: Reposting other professionals' avalanche observations so they appear on the Observations page viewable to public.
SNOWPACK OBSERVATIONS
 HS: 80-120cm 
 Upper Pack: 30-40cm F and 4F PP 
 Middle Pack: Mix of mostly 1F and P mixed forms, crusts, wind layers but some 4F interfaces with more obvious faceting 
 Lower Pack: We weren't traveling in avalanche terrain and only observed lower layers via pole probing - felt obvious softer FC layers lower in pack 
AVALANCHE PROBLEM ASSESSMENT
Avalanche Characteristics
Character/Avalanche Problem:
Persistent Slab

Layer/Depth:
40-60cm

Likelihood of Triggering
Sensitivity:
Unreactive

Spatial Distribution:
Widespread
Terrain
  Primary Concern Comments: Low confidence in assessment due to lots of ski traffic in midpack layers and limited snowpack observations.
 
Avalanche Characteristics
Character/Avalanche Problem:
Wind Slab

Layer/Depth:
30-60cm

Likelihood of Triggering
Sensitivity:
Not Observed

Spatial Distribution:
Isolated
Terrain
  Problem 2 Comments: Surprisingly little wind slab formation at the top of the cross, especially given the amount of low density snowfall in past 36 hrs.
STABILITY TESTS
 Stability Test Results: ECTN 15 @47cm. 8700' E aspect. We only isolated the column about 60cm deep (did not isolate to the faceted layers close to the ground). See photo for structure/snowpit at test site.
SNOW STABILITY
 Snow Stability Rating for your observed area: Good Confidence: LOW Trend: Steady
 Comments (aspects and elevations of instability, etc): Stability rating only applies to terrain without wind-loading (where we traveled) - the storm snow did not form a slab here.
BOTTOM LINE
 Comments: The snow surface appeared much more wind-affected than it was in this location. The only wind-slab we encountered was at the ridgeline. Non-standard hand tests showed storm snow was bonding surprisingly well to the old/new interface. We were on a powder skiing mission and staying out of avalanche terrain, so we did not do much snowpack investigation. We did not experience any collapsing or cracking, but I feel the heavy ski traffic in this area in recent weeks significantly reduced the chances of observing collapsing today. The mid-pack structure is still concerning (softer facets and mixed forms above and between harder crusts), but I think avalanches are much more likely in wind-affected terrain.
FILE ATTACHMENTS

190107_Cross_pit_8700E_SS.jpg
Snowpit at 8700' on E aspect. ECT test did not propagate on "bed surface" layer left in place in this photo.