Close
PROFESSIONAL OBSERVATION FORM
 Start Date: 12.27.16 Name: Savage Operation: SAC
 Drainage/Route:  Smiley Ck Observed Terrain:  middle elevation SW-S-SE-E, variety lower elevation Zone/Region:  Smoky & Boulder Mountains
WEATHER OBSERVATIONS
 HN24: 20cm HST: 20cm Sky: X Precip: S3 Temps: teens F
 Ridgeline Wind: Moderate and Gusty from the W
 Blowing Snow: M Snow Available for Transport: Large amounts
 Comments: about 12cm new as of noon with another 8cm by 2pm: very low density snowfall but snowing 1-2"/hr while we were out
AVALANCHE OBSERVATIONS
 No. Location Date Size Type Trigger Aspect Elevation Comments
SNOWPACK OBSERVATIONS
 HS: 135-145 SE-S-E 8000-8700' 
 Upper Pack: PP, some SH/rimed grains/FCns at top of Christmas storm, Christmas storm snow and 12/14-16 storm snow 
 Middle Pack: 12/14 FCns, then mostly RG 
 Lower Pack: RG and mixed forms with moist FC at ground 
AVALANCHE PROBLEM ASSESSMENT
Avalanche Characteristics
Character/Avalanche Problem:
Wind Slab

Layer/Depth:
20cm

Likelihood of Triggering
Sensitivity:
Very Touchy

Spatial Distribution:
Specific
Terrain
  Primary Concern Comments: Very soft windslabs beginning to form early this afternoon...would be widespread in upper elevation terrain.
 
Avalanche Characteristics
Character/Avalanche Problem:
Persistent Slab

Layer/Depth:
12/14

Likelihood of Triggering
Sensitivity:
Stubborn

Spatial Distribution:
Widespread
Terrain
  Problem 2 Comments: No cracking or collapsing, stability tests looking much better on this layer.
 
Avalanche Characteristics
Character/Avalanche Problem:
Deep Persistent Slab

Layer/Depth:
ground

Likelihood of Triggering
Sensitivity:
Unreactive

Spatial Distribution:
Widespread
Terrain
  Problem 3 Comments: Moist FC near ground appear to be healing/strengthening. We're not out of the woods yet but we're going that direction.
 Comments: Wind slabs will grow but were insignificant in middle elevation terrain here this afternoon.
STABILITY TESTS
 Stability Test Results: ECTP 1 on "funny business" layer of SH/rime/FCns beneath forming wind slabs. Only getting results where wind loaded. ECTN 12 and 19 on 12/14 layer about 50cm down. PST 57-100 arrest pm 12/14 layer.
OBVIOUS SIGNS OF INSTABILITY
 Marked with checkmark if observed:
 Cracking (isolated)   Length: 1m
 Comments: New wind slabs cracking by 1400hrs but still very soft.
SNOW STABILITY
 Snow Stability Rating for your observed area: Good Confidence: HIGH Trend: Worsening
 Comments (aspects and elevations of instability, etc): MOD at middle elev (8000-8800') while we were there but headed towards CONS as wind loading was ramping up this afternoon. Very good stability where not recently wind loaded. Lots of noise from wind at upper elevations - different world up there today. Drive home over the pass around 4pm with sled trailer was quite sporty due to wind transport - wind transport dramatically increased around Smiley Ck/Galena Summit this afternoon.
BOTTOM LINE
 Comments: Buried persistent layers looking better than I expected in this area. Moist FC near ground need an extended rest with no snow or wind loading but are trending in the right direction on solar aspects. 12/8 and 12/14 layers may be done acting up where we were. Christmas surface layer will make things interesting tonight and Wednesday but has the look of a short lived instability. Blower faceshots skiing and sledding - wow. Report from my ski partner that they observed no collapsing in the past 4 days while skiing and riding around Smiley Creek (several drainages), all below 8200' elevation though.