Lower trailhead - lower Mt Eleanor Trail - Avalanche Chute. Returned via upper trailhead and FS 2401.
Feb. 19, 2017, 2 p.m. PST
Weather: Snow all day, light winds out of the south. Significantly more snow fell than originally forecast. Heavy, wet snow with high water content at lower elevations, varied snowfall above 4000'.
Snowpack: Rain crust very evident along lower trailhead. 12-18" of new snow fell at higher elevations between 0800-1600 local time. Snow type varied all day between grapple to large, wet flakes.
Area Description: Avalanche chute on winter route to summit of Mt Ellinor
Avalanches: During climb up avalanche chute, noted significant change in snowpack stability. Small fractures with 2-4" "crowns" were noted beginning at 4800' and increasing in frequency, size, depth, and propagation as elevation increased. Estimated new snow 12-18" of new snow on top of existing rain crust. New snow bond to the crust was more cohesive below 4000', and significantly less bonded at higher elevations. During transition to exit the chute after observing increasing signs of instability, witness multiple sluff avalanches with 6-8" crowns triggered by snowfall from tree limbs on unsupported slopes. Fractures and some propagation noted during descent, but no significant stuff or slab movement occurred. Later afternoon snow was significantly heavier and stickier than snow quality observed before 1200.
Did you see any avalanches? Yes
Did you trigger any avalanches? No
Was anyone caught in an Avalanche? No