Climbed to pass over to Mazama bowl, strong southerly flow over the pass, heavy wind loading made safe entry into Mazama bowl difficult so opted for Herman Saddle. At Herman Saddle, very heavy wind loading. Bailed and retreated to Bagley lakes for a few laps lower down N of Bagley Lakes.
Jan. 8, 2019, noon PST
Weather: Increasing winds in late morning with southerly flow at Mazama pass and Herman Saddle 20s gusting to ~40, showers.
Snowpack: Snowpack at Mazama bowl wasn't reactive to cornice drops at about 11 am. Heavy windloading over Herman Saddle made for a highly reactive snowpack. Lower down, hand and shovel shears showed new snow instabilities at about 6" but very strong below that.
Area Description: Herman Saddle, Mazama Bowl, Bagley Lakes
Avalanches: Cornice at Herman Saddle released for about 50-80 ft cornice but didn't really slide (>1 ft deep). Other pockets in the trees released with little effort (5-9" crown). Lower down N of Bagley Lakes, new snow instabilities enabled some stubborn and small releases only on slopes steeper than 45 degrees (6-5" deep, 20 foot crown is the biggest). In one case I was caught and lost a couple turns but that was it.
Observation by Evan Burgess
Did you see any avalanches? Yes
Did you trigger any avalanches? Yes
Was anyone caught in an Avalanche? Yes