Snow Observations

Valdez Snow Observations

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279 thoughts on “Snow Observations

  1. May 9, 2014 Loveland 1:30-4pm 2400-5500′
    47F/8C, mostly clear with some cloud to the northeast, strong NE wind
    Toured up Loveland Peak. Up to about 4500′, 15-30cm surface was wet with frozen snow below. Isothermal snow to ground near rocks and thin areas near the ridge. Crusty in the shadows. Watched a few wet loose avalanches to size 2 slide out of rocks on the steep south faces of Tone’s.

  2. Sunday, May 4th, I managed to trigger 2 slides that were more sensitive than expected and thought I should share the story with everyone so conditions are passed on. Sorry it didn’t write this earlier…life stuff.

    After digging and skiing in and around Python and Cracked Ice on the last sunny day of the most recent period of unusually warm temps, I had no major signs of this scale of sensitivity at the higher elevations (on multiple slopes) despite lots of direct sun. But, as I descended down to the 3,000 ft level, the snow softened incredibly fast. I skied to a rollover to inspect my terrain options, only to hear and finally see a fairly large REMOTELY triggered avalanche bank up the far side of the gully to my right…WOW…at least 20-30 ft from the crown and rollover. Given that, I traversed to the most prominent low-angle ridge to further assess my options with shifty snow underfoot. Upon stopping about three turns down the ridge, the snow under my skis very slowly crept away from me like a wide point release, channeling downslope until it rolled over and pulled the whole bowl below me out at a much faster rate. Crown: 2 ft to 4 inches of very wet slab that slid on the interface with the large facets above the Damalanche crust. It eventually trenched down to ground in thinner and lower areas. Aspect: N

    LESSON: Mind your time of day, aspect and elevation change closely, as these sensitive conditions above the crust will likely show themselves again as things warm back up. As days warm even more, consider these conditions to rise into our upper elevation zones as the spring shed occurs. There already is slush pooling above the crust higher up, but it was stubborn to react that earlier that day. CT26 Q3 at about 13:00 hrs next to apron of Cherry Couloir. Don’t hesitate to turn around and find another way out when things are touchy.

    See photos….On painted photo: Orange X’s mark trigger locations, Blue line my traverse, and Red lines the crowns (didn’t inspect the remote gully very closely).

    I hope this helps.

  3. April 18, 2014 South side of Odyssey 1200-1430
    1400 temp at 2800′ +2.0C(34F)
    Above 3200′ the surface snow was frozen/dry. Moist in lower elevations.
    3700′ at the base of a small NE facing slope: 84cm height of snow.
    2cm new snow on a 3cm melt freeze crust. Moist snow below that for 20cm down to a knife hard crust. The lower pack had dry rounding facets interspersed between old crusts. All interfaces were welded together. The surprise was finding 3-4mm cupped depth hoar at the rocky bottom.

  4. April 15, 2014 46 Mile
    +5C, broken sky, calm
    Snow below 1500′ is isothermal – mushy. Green house affect.
    1st night of not freezing.
    Some new wet loose in steep terrain, all aspects.

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