Snow Observations

Valdez Snow Observations

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401 thoughts on “Snow Observations

  1. Saturday, Nov 28, 2015: 11:00-16:30

    *Precip had stopped and clouds began to lift with periods of broken sky until it closed up again later in the day.
    *Strong winds out of SE with moderate snow transport at ridgetops. Calm on northerly protected areas down from the ridges.
    *28 Deg F air temperature at 3500′.

    Avalanche activity:
    *Spotted old, loose wet activity out of steep, rocky terrain: Odyssey, Loveland.
    *4 or 5 separate D1.5-D2 slabs had pulled off of the steep, lower, northly faces below Python (between Nicks and Cracked Ice) and had partially filled back in. Very defined crowns looked like glide cracks as well.

    *Able to get the most recent 4F soft wind slabs to crack and shift on light, new snow underneath (possible problem on steeper, unsupported terrain….give it time), but many areas wouldn’t budge on test slopes.
    * Loaded gullies to more than 3 meters and scoured ridges to ground or most recent rain crust from the last storm. Things are looking impressively filled in on northerly aspects.
    * Ski penetration 10-25cm.

    Pit Results (top of Harvey’s Ditch, 3500′, SW aspect, 36 deg slope):
    * 124 cm snowpack with minimal temperature grandient….1.3 deg C top to bottom.
    * Mostly dry, new storm snow, with soft wind slabs mixed in.
    * 18cm of firm (K-) 0.5mm windslab rested on up to 8cm of weak (4F) 2mm facet chains at the ground. (very thin and well bonded to rock in places, deep in others where a 1cm ice crust was found scattered and broken up within)
    * CT8 SC, Q3 and ECTP25 SC, Q3……and that is on a 125cm column.

  2. 11/28/15, Flats below Catchers Mitt 1-4:30 PM

    Avalanche activity observed: North Odyssey had 4 loose wet slides out of steep rocks and gullies to size D2-2.5; Other aspects also had smaller wet loose activity in the steeps below a ~3500′

    Weather: it cleared up nicely around noon, intermittent clouds with blue sky peering through. Temperature was 32 degrees in the air, surface of the snow, and 20 cm deep. No wind or precipitation was present. Evidence of strong southerly winds were present from storm. Widespread wind loading on northern aspects.

    Snowpack: the average snow depth on the flats was between 50-70 cm deep, more than half of that snow was due to the recent storm. The top layer about 10 cm deep was last night’s drier snow over a knife hard rain crust and wet coarse grains below. A second crust was found 20 cm from the ground. One Ruschblock test on a southern aspect at an elevation of 2500′ on a 32 degree test slope resulted in a RB6 failure at ground.

  3. Friday, Nov 27, 2015: 12:30-1600

    A drive out to the Tsaina River and back provided the following info:

    Thompson Pass: temp= 32 F, heavy snow; strong winds; snow=110cm on ground, 45cm new

    Worthington Glacier: temp= 32 F; heavy rain; light winds; snow=81cm on ground, 33cm new

    Nicks: rain-snow mix; light wind; snow=75cm on ground, 20cm new

    Rain-snow line hung around the bottom of the road run and DOT camp.

    Alders were laying down and filling in well from the hairpin to Cracked Ice at Milepost 32.

    Pit tests above the Thompson Pass gap in 90cm of snow found rounding, moist facets and non-planar, quality 3 failures 45cm & 80cm below the surface.

    Further investigation of persistent and basal weak layers are necessary.

    Please contribute what you are finding out there!

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