Observation Date: 04/02/2020
I ascended Lil Jo and was skiing powder laps on the east bowl when a window of visibility opened up and I could glass the crown from afar with a telephoto lens.
Spring Squalls were blowing through all day, with wintery temps. Periods of heavy snow were followed by windows of sunshine.
Interesting wind patterns. On the summit ridge, strong winds (15-25 mph) out of the West were actively transporting snow and loaded E/NE aspects (identical to the slope where the skier triggered slide occurred), while below the summit ridge weaker east winds were noted.
New Snow: 6-12″
During one of the sunbursts on top if Lil Jo I was glassing around looking at snow surfaces and I spotted a Large crown on Smoky Jo (Bitterroot peak 8533 just SE of Bass Lake) which spanned the entire E/NE face ~500 ft wide, ~2.5 ft deep, and also a skin just above it which led to the summit, with four sets of tracks heading down. I have to imagine this was triggered by one of those skiers.
I experienced multiple collapses and whumping as I skinned up the final 500 ft of Lil Jo, but didn’t find any other red flags during my ski.
A short PSA to the Missoula area BC skiers. DIAL IT BACK! Now is not the time to be testing steep slopes 8 miles back Bass creek, it is the time to be minimizing risk. There’s plenty of low-angle wiggle powder to be had. Let’s treat this activity as a privilege and one that comes with a lot of responsibility.
Observer: Ned Gall