Clear and fairly cold all day. Light winds blowing out of the NW
Jan 6, 2022
(+/- 1 week)
East Fork Big Wood River
Observed widespread avalanche activity on N-NE-E slopes from storm in first week of January (and maybe earlier)?
Widespread buried SH at lower elevations (down 3-6cm). Intense faceting of the upper snowpack at all elevations. Even below the level of the inversion the snowpack is still ski/boot/sled supportable above the 30cm of very-well developed facets in the upper snowpack, which seems somewhat uncommon. I'd imagine the combination of a stiffer surface underneath and a facet stack at the surface could make for some impressive persistent slides in sheltered terrain when (if) we get another big storm. Surfaces at upper elevations are a range of slick/icy/faceted/wind-whack, about what you'd expect given the weather we've had. All of these could make for variably long-lived weak layers when snow returns.
Dug at 8,600' on N facing slope where HS=120-140 cm. Shovel shears revealed a few clean shears in the upper 1/2 of the snowpack, but no response in ECT. 12/11 DH+MFcr is buried 90-100cm down, returned ECTP 32 and 33 (non-standard loading steps, but not hulk smashes, just more hits from the shoulder) and CPST 32/100 and 37/100 END. DH grains are showing little signs of healing, though the layer of concern seems to be thinning a bit. However, grains are still cupped and striated in the 2-3cm weak interval sandwiched between old ambient-temp melt-freeze crusts. As I've observed in other portions of this zone, this weak layer is very capable of coming out of dormancy with additional loading and could still be triggered in the wrong terrain with a healthy dose of bad luck.
Dec 11, 2021 (FC)
Comments: Rose shaded based on where problem is known to exist. Sensitivity somewhere between stubborn and unreactive.
Did not encounter wind slab problem today, but did not go looking for it. All slabs I saw were firmly bonded and quite hard.
Avoided shaded terrain where 12/11 was present at the base of the snowpack. This was a fairly easy decision as most northerly slopes had taken a serious beating from the wind.