Observation Date: 02/02/2014
Four days in the Lost Trail Pass backcountry vicinity. Mainly skiing on NW to NE slopes 30-40* between 8100′ and 7000′, but traveling through other terrain, and lower elevations. Looking for further signs of instability after human triggered slide was noted on rock outcrop (aka ‘Bonus Glade) while in area 1/31.
Snowed 18-24 inches 1/29-30/2014. A few inches fell 1/31, but little precip since. Moderate solar gain on southern exposures and ridgelines 2/1, but cloudy and cold again today; 11* F at 1000. Light variable wind 0-5.
Light variable 0-5
Human triggered avalanche noted on rock outcrop (aka ‘Bonus Glade’ 1/31) – see Dangelo Observation 2/1.
1/31 we noted other observations as well including small isolated windslabs near ridgelines and isolated spots on NE-E aspects that had more persistent facets at old snow/ new snow interface. These observations were not widespread on the slopes we traveled. Also noted was minimal sloughing on slopes between 35-40*.
Seeing the slide on the Bonus Glade 1/31 was a suprise after the observations we had made through the day. However, the isolated spot on the slope that slid is notorious for having a shallow snowpack (compared to surrounding slopes), and is a unique spot. So though we were surprised to see it slide that day, we have seen it triggered in the past.
No other natural or human triggered avalanches we’re observed the rest of weekend, even with attempts to set slides on purpose.
Fresh snow appears to be settling further, and skiing is great on most aspects. Be observant of changing snowpack through elevation and aspect changes, as isolated instabilities are still lurking. Treat slopes appropriately. I spoke with skier in group that set off the slide and it appears that slope was being treated as ‘just the way out’ after multiple runs at higher elevations we’re giving them favorable data. And though skier easily skied out of slide, a ski cut might have prevented that surprise.
Feb 2nd Pit Data:
Pit 1 – 7200′ near ridgetop 30* slope N-NE
155cm deep, 40cm new storm snow (past 4 days)
115cm – CTE5 Q2 and CTE6 Q2
– ECTN17 Q2
95cm – CTM20 Q2
– ECTN27 Q3
PIT 2 – 6200′ near valley floor 26* slope W-SW
125cm deep, 30 cm new storm snow (past 4 days)
95cm – CTM17 Q2
– ECTN21 Q2
Ground – ECTP27 Q3
*Notes – Extended column propogated to ground, though not until 27. Watch lower elevation / shallower spowpacks if on beargrass slope on snowmobile.
Observer: Geoff Fast