Observation Date: 01/19/2015

Route/Location:
Five Valleys Backcountry Ski Patrol members toured in to the Cold Lakes basin in the northern Missions today. Surface snow conditions were interesting, with a breakable crust lurking 3-5 cm beneath fresh snow. Total snow depth was 315 cm (!) where we dug on a 32* slope at 6000′.

Weather:
Graupel on and off for most of the day. Clouds began to clear in late afternoon.

Wind:
Strong West to Northwest winds all day, especially at upper elevations. Observed lots of new snow transport.

New Snow: 0-3″

Avalanche Activity:
No observed natural avalanches.

Other Comments:
We dug on a 32* slope at ~6000 feet. Total snow depth at the site was 315 cm… lots of snow up there!

Lots of interesting layers, wish we had drawn a profile. 3 cm of fresh graupel covered a thin breakable crust at the snow surface. The next layer of note, at 265 cm above ground was a 2 cm thick ice layer on top of 4-5 cm of 4F facets.

Consecutive CT tests had the 4F facets failing at 3 and 5. The same layer failed with energy and full propagation at ECTP8, Q1. When we pulled the block off and examined the bed surface, we found a thin graupel layer that we hadn’t noticed in the pit profile. Pictures attached.

Observer: Daniel Perret

failure surface... graupel mixed with other crystals