I did not see evidence of any avalanche problems today. Some previous wind-loading in exposed middle elevation and upper elevation terrain, but the slabs were stubborn and quite isolated. My primary goal was a surface inventory (evaluating the upper snowpack in case it ever snows for real).
Light snow much of the afternoon (S-1), but very little accumulation. Sleet at HWY level, but no rain today while I was out. Very humid with ongoing rime event above 8700', cloud ceiling around that level. Winds were moving snow above 8500', but not really loading anything. There's not much snow available for transport at this point.
Roadside on Galena Summit, near Alexander Ross pullout
|D1||SS||4-10"||U-Unknown||Unsure on when this happened, but it looked fresh when I saw it around 7 AM and hasn't been reported. Thin, wind-loaded pocket broke right above the road, oozed onto the pavement a bit. Barely even a D1 slide, but interesting in that it was about 50-80' wide (estimate while driving by). E/SE slope with a dirty bed surface.||None|
Lower Elevation (below 7500') = 2-4cm PP/DF, then 2 crusts with FC surrounding them. W-SW-S-SE were minimum 3 cm and max 10-15cm knife hard crusts with perc columns below and much less FC. NW-N had nice well-developed FC around the crusts, some isolated SH below the lower one (it was previously wet and then froze though). Some perc columns below the crusts on N-NW too.
Middle Elevation (7500-8500') = Mixed bag of hard winded surfaces and/or stout icy crusts on SW-S-SE; NW-W/NW-W were 4-7cm PP/DF above one or 2 crusts (razor to max 1 cm thick) + FC...well-developed FC on NW becoming much smaller on the W aspects. Some breakable wind crusts in semi-exposed terrain.
Upper Elevation (above 8500') = Heavily winded on solars and W, some previous wind loading on NE-E, tracks and traverses still plainly visible in steep NW path near the summit (B Tube). Boot pen = zero in windy areas. Bad visibility up high, so it's hard for me to say what things looked like more than 50' below the ridgeline on the steeper NE shots off the top.
Overall impression: Windy terrain does not have potential PWL at/near the surface, but there are plenty of slick surfaces. Lower and middle elevation solars were ice - will take a lot to make them fail below the current surface. Lower and middle elevation shady (W/NW-NW-N) have well-developed FC around crusts in the upper 15cm and, unless something dramatically changes, will be concerning when loaded. Lower and middle elevation W had thicker crusts that should take more of a load than the crust+FC on NW-N aspects.
No avalanche problems observed today. Isolated wind-slabs may be sensitive where overlying well-developed FC, but I didn't find them today.
I was traveling solo and stayed out of starting zones steeper than 35 degrees, except where surfaces were hard ice/crusts.