About 6-12" of new storm snow in the Frenchman/Smiley/Beaver Ck area from 7500 to >9000'. Not much wind in this area during or after the storm, so very little natural avalanche activity. There was a fair amount of new, soft cornice growth on the ridges. The mid-storm instabilities were not breaking cleanly like they were in the northern Sawtooths and Banner Summit area the past few days. Exposed W and SW aspects over 8500' got plenty of sun today, cooking the new snow down to a few inches of glop on a firm crust - you probably could have triggered wet loose slides there today in very steep terrain, but it may not be as much of a problem Friday and Saturday.
Mostly clear skies until late afternoon when convective clouds rolled in from the west. Temperatures never rose very much, staying cold enough to keep the feet cool. Guessing around 10F above 9000' at 3-4 PM?
Alpine Ck, Cabin Ck, McDonald Peak area, Vienna area
|D1||L||N-Natural||Most were D1, maybe a few D1.5. Most were triggered by small natural cornice fall. Focused on E aspects, some NE too.||None|
|D1.5||SS||N-Natural||W-SW aspect, failed well below ridgeline.|
Beaver Ck - Eureka Peak/point 10129
|D1.5||SS||N-Natural||E-NE aspect. It looked like it went when hit from above by small loose snow slides (sluffs).|
Above Titus Lake trailhead
|D1||SS||N-Natural||N-NW aspect. Likely trigger was small cornice failure.|
2" storm snow at Smiley Creek valley floor, increased to 6-12" from 7500-9300'. Very little wind effects other than soft cornice growth and super soft slabs at ridgelines but not extending very far at all downslope. All the storm snow was fairly low density. Storm snow has bonded fairly well to old crusts on solar aspects. The old/new interface wasn't too faceted on shady aspects, but there were multiple crust+FC layers below the storm snow on shady aspects below about 8300'. The dirty 3/7 FC layer wasn't as prominent here as we've seen in the Baker Ck, Northern Sawtooths, and Banner Summit areas - not sure why?
Snowpack tests: no standard tests performed - strictly small columns, pulling and tapping with hands. No Q1 shears within new snow, at old/new interface, or in 3/7 layer (few tests/observations of 3/7).
Hard to say what the main problem was today. Cornices grew and were soft - you could have fallen off one if you weren't paying attention. Wet loose issues were becoming possible on SW and W, but the cold temps+consistent light breeze+clouds rolling in kept them subdued. Sluff management would have been an issue in very steep terrain, and some sluffs could have triggered small, soft wind deposits on the way down.
We skied non-wind loaded terrain up to about 35 degrees. We avoided steeper solar slopes (possible wet loose issues and ski quality) and very steep, exposed shady slopes (group objectives and minimal observations on 3/7 layer).