Standard approach, skiing E-NE aspects with exit out opposite aspect to heather canyon cat track
Jan. 30, 2016, 3 p.m. PST
Weather: Intermittent sun and snow squalls . Winds at ridge top from 0-30 mph, with significant ongoing wind transport throughout the day. Daytime accumulations around 1". Significant precipitation began as we left around 16:00.
Snowpack: 30 cm storm snow of medium density over a firm raincrust. A quick pit found multiple planar shears within the new snow on isolation, though the 'slab' has little cohesion. CT22Q3 at the new snow old snow interface, with a right side up density profile. The storm slab is was an issue on slopes under 40 degrees. Some loose snow sluffing was observed on 40 degree slopes. Riding conditions were excellent in wind-sheltered areas Wind slab was building throughout the day just off and extending to 10 m below the ridge line. This was a 4f to 1f slab 5-6cm deep which grew deeper and more reactive as it was loaded during the day. Windward aspects were a mix of scoured rain crust and dense pockets of windslab which was unreactive.
Area Description: Pea Gravel ridge at and above treeline, E-NE facing slope around 6000'
Avalanches: A member of our party pulled out a small 3" x 10' x 40' windslab which ran on surface snow until encountering lower angled snow. This was the result of a ski cut and no skier was caught or carried. On subsequent laps, exploration kicking cornice higher in the bowl yielded shooting cracks up to 15m propagating within this windslab and pulling out slabs 4-6" x 30' x 10' consistently, which broke up on lower angled terrain. Observed danger was technically considerable, but essentially moderate. These wind slabs could grow in size with winds overnight, but lacking a weak layer/bed surface, they're likely to be problematic only on slopes >40 degrees
Observation by Patrick Fink
Did you see any avalanches? Yes
Did you trigger any avalanches? Yes
Was anyone caught in an Avalanche? No