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Recreational Observation

Swift Glacier

March 9, 2019, 9:30 a.m. PST

Weather: Clear and cold, light breeze. No snow transport but light previous drifting had occurred.

Snowpack: 20-40cm HST with deeper drifts since 3/6, cold and uncohesive except above about 6k where the slab underneath the low density surface snow was 4f+. Ski pen was 10-25cm, effortless trailbreaking and skiing. Setting the skinner up the Swift Glacier in the morning, felt a small collapse underfoot. Continuing on we had two collapses, each one larger with the last about 40ft section around us. We dug down to see what the failure layer was: At 7600ft on a Southeast aspect found 1.5-2mm facets over a thin sun crust buried around the 6th. Sudden Planer Compression Test failures with 3 and 4 (easy) on this layer down 40cm. We made a point to avoid steep pockets on similar slopes, and continued up. After we skiied down some nicely supported and lower angle slopes, we watched another party ski through one of the most suspect zones, with no results.

Area Description: Mount St Helens

Avalanches: Some small wet loose on steep southeast aspects down at 5k.

Observation by Matt Primomo

Did you see any avalanches? No

Did you trigger any avalanches? No

Was anyone caught in an Avalanche? No