Observation Date: 12/07/2014
SE bowl on gash point. 8,500 ft. Bitterroot Range
Mostly clear skies, 35 to 40 degrees, calm winds.
Calm. We noticed signs of wind affected snow on our way up the ridge included isolated wind slabs and some hollow sounding areas.
New Snow: 0-3″
We did not see any natural or human triggered avalanche activity.
There were ski tracks in the North bowl as well as the south bowl, some on slopes steeper than 35 degrees.
We dug a pit on an ESE aspect, 8,500ft. 33 degree slope. The total depth was 135 cm.
We performed 2 CT tests and both times got a result of CT1, failing on the facets near the ground. These columns both failed with one very light tap and came out with some energy, Q2.
We then did an ECT and got full propagation at the depth hoar layer after 22 taps, Q2.
I was able to clearly see the faceted crystals under a magnifying lens. They are less apparent then a week ago but they are still there and are still reactive.
A party next to us also dug a pit and found that it was failing at the depth hoar, they got slightly better CT results then we did though.
The skiing was quite good on the lower angle terrain in the bowl. We had to boot-pack out the last couple miles.
Based on these observations I still don’t trust our depth hoar layer and will be very cautious if we receive any significant loading on top at this point.
Observer: Brian Martens