Herman Saddle Ascent Track
Jan. 4, 2015, 1 p.m. PST
Weather: Snowing Heavily. Prevailing winds from the SW with ground-level winds coming from the north. Wind speed moderate to strong. Temperatures warmed from high 20's to low 30's over 5 hour period.
Snowpack: 3 inches of new snow and rapidly forming windslabs on lee and crossloaded features (S and SW aspects at ground level near valley bottom). Widespread shooting cracks with easy hand shears and shovel tilt test results. Mid and lower pack generally well bonded.
Area Description: South Face of False Herman - AKA "The Boulder Field." ~4400 ft. Variety of slope angles between 25 and 45 degrees. Terrain characterized by small, convex features and complex gully systems.
Avalanches: Numerous D1 and D1.5 natural wind slab avalanches observed on lee features. Was leading an AIARE level 1 avalanche course and facilitating a student planned tour. Ended up pulling the plug near tree line due to low visibility and fear of more destructive avalanche potential in larger, alpine terrain features. Intentionally triggered some very sensitive, D1, crossloaded pockets for the sake of the course. Super cool learning experience for students!
Observation by John Minier
Did you see any avalanches? Yes
Did you trigger any avalanches? Yes
Was anyone caught in an Avalanche? No