Observation Date: 03/22/2014
Up Canyon Cr. trail 525 to Selway Bitterroot Wilderness then south to the true summit of Downing Mt. The path to the summit requires careful route finding to avoid the numerous cliff bands strewn about the basin.
Mostly cloudy skies in the am, giving way to sunny skies in the afternoon. Temps in the low to mid twenties, warming to the mid thirties during peak heating hours. Calm wind top to bottom.
Noticed a few wind pillows/drifts left over from the strong winds that occurred earlier this week. We did not detect any obvious slabs, as most have settled and gained cohesion by now.
New Snow: No New Snow
Noticed and heard several large wet loose avalanches racing down the south side of Romney Ridge. The gullies on Romney Ridge are very steep, anywhere from 40-50 degrees. Most of these slides started mid slope(6500′) and ran full path to near creek bottom. These slides were very predictable given the time of year, recent snow, and high sun angle. These slides all originated in direct proximity to rock outcroppings.
Of notable concern was a significant layer of surface hoar which developed between 7,000 and 8,700′ on N facing slopes. This was a result of a mid level inversion that held a layer of stratocumulus at to slightly below peak level for most of the morning hours. We skied off the NE face of Downing on ridges and gullies ranging from 35-45 degrees. We felt comfortable skiing steeper shaded terrain. We carefully skied one at a time and found three decent islands of safety along the descent route. Very little snow movement as we enjoyed nice spring powder conditions all the way back to Canyon Cr.
Observer: Bob Garrity