Avalanche: Summit

Location: Butch

Route & General Observations

Wind sculpted slopes noted on most slopes above tree line. We had plans to ascend to the top of Butch via the northern most ridge. The gullies running up Butch appeared to lack anything but small amounts of wind effect, thin lips spread away from a few of the high elevation hemlocks, but overall the snow looked very nice. As we ascended 2600 ft, wind hardened snow, 1-3 in thickness) was intermittent on the ridge. But the gullies/depressions were still soft. It’s worth noting we had already skied this aspect on Butch twice this week and had good stability test results.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect West Northwest
Elevation 3400ftSlope Angle 34deg
Crown Depth 10inWidth 50ft
Vertical Run 1500ft  
Avalanche Details

First sign of shooting cracks occurred in soft snow while skinning the final couple hundred feet to the ridgetop. The new snow was soft and didn't seem more than a few inches deep. Moments later the second person in our group of 2 triggered a slide 10" deep with the crown just above the skin track. The skier stayed on the bed surface where the skin track used to be. The second slide occurred on a similar aspect on the other side of the next rib to the south. I tried to intentionally set it loose with ski cuts, but it was stubborn and released somewhere above. I skied off the slab onto the aforementioned rib and let it clear out below. We had been out skiing butch 2 other time this week, digging pits and finding good overall stability. It was an error to underestimate the consolidation and depth of the new snow.

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