Observation Date: 01/03/2018
Birthday ridge/Jenny bowl
Socked in, calm wind, spitting flurries
New Snow: 0-3″
Wednesday, Jan 3. No signs of natural or human triggered slides on any aspects of birthday ridge or Jenny bowl, couldn’t see Murphy of burgundy. On Wednesday morning I dug a pit just off the entrance to too steep to tele, north facing wind loaded aspect. Snow depth was 205cm with dense wind slabs sitting on deep instabilities. The top 35cm from the past storm hasn’t bonded with the previous layers quite yet, but the scary layer lies in the thanksgiving crust. In our location, the thanksgiving crust was 110cm down and broke off very clean with a bit of force. We got the upper 35cm to go on ECT 25. The thanksgiving layer did not propagate during ECT but popped real clean with a shovel blade behind it with minimal force. This layer took a bit of force to get to go, but that was where it was 3 feet down. This layer would be VERY EASY to trigger at a weak or shallow point in the snowpack, such as over the tip of a shark fin rock lurking just below the surface (not that we have ANY of those around here).
Skiers left side of Jenny bowl in the trees had a zipper crust on top from the sun/freeze cycle, as did everything the sun touched. What we have right now in the rattlesnake above 6500 feet is a deep instability with very high consequences if triggered. 110cm of dense wind slab sitting on a smooth hard crust 2-3″ thick that doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. Look for this layer to lurk all season with building consequences as the snow stacks up on top of it. There was a bit of a sugary layer on the ground which was difficult to trigger but I could see a snow machine taking a north face all the way to the ground with the right trigger point. Be safe out there folks!
Observer: Jeff Smallcomb