Observation Date: 03/03/2019
Toured from Highway 200 up direct south east ridge.
Sunny and single digit cold with warming snow surface temperatures near road level.
None, but serious evidence of wind from the east with frontal passage on Friday night – Saturday morning.
New Snow: 6-12″
All observations of south east facing terrain:
Small D1 R2 avalanche (estimate 10m wide x 1 foot deep) on slope above road cut. Appeared to have been triggered by animal tracks leading onto slope.
Hand and pole pits throughout tour showed horribly faceted snow below new storm snow, all the way to the ground. Stepping off skin track sank boots all the way to the ground. No real supportable structure until above approximately 5,000′
Ridge grade backs off about point 5,400′, but gained substantial exposure to wind from previous cold front. At this point large scale collapsing and whumpfing began to occur throughout 4 person group over various portions of the snowpack. Cornice formation forced slight leeward detours which led to release of small soft slab’s. Ended tour without gaining summit due to perceived instability and lack of non-wind affected snow beyond.
First low elevation tour with all the new snow. Recent tours to higher elevation terrain in the Bitterroot and more western portions of the Rattlesnake have indicated a dramatically different and more stable snowpack structure. Eastern lower elevation portions of rattlesnake around Wisherd Ridge may not share same deep snow inter-mountain stability being experienced in Grant Creek or Bitterroot drainages. Author believes caution is well advised in those enticing areas near town which do not normally hold snow.
Observer: Graham Coppes