Observation Date: 01/07/2015

Route/Location:
Five Valleys Backcountry Ski Patrol members toured in to the head of Crystal Amphitheater. As the skiing itself was pretty heinous, we dedicated the afternoon to snow observations, and dug a large pit on an east facing slope at right about 6000′.

Weather:
T-shirt weather! Very warm with gusty north winds. Dark, rainy-looking clouds blowing over in the early afternoon, but no precipitation.

Wind:

New Snow: No New Snow

Avalanche Activity:
Observed 3 small recent natural slides. All looked to be confined to the recent heavy storm snow, and were on steep E and SE-facing slopes. Lots of pinwheels and several point-releases on steep terrain.

Other Comments:
Dug pit on a 30* East-facing slope at 5961 feet. Snow depth 173 cm.

ECT results:
ECTP2 – Q1 – new storm snow, 33 cm below surface with full propagation
ECTP14 – Q1 – failed on interface between newer snow and old, thick, consolidated depth hoar at 91 cm below surface with full propagation

Shovel shear tests identified several other layers, including a density change at 58 cm below surface that was reactive in simple compression tests.

Observer: Daniel Perret

Small slide on ESE-facing slope near the head of Crystal Amphitheater FVBSP member checks out some of the layers revealed by a SS test