Observation: Summit

Location: Colorado

Route & General Observations

Northern skin track starting across from Manitoba parking lot to 2460′. Hoping for a longer tour and obs in the alpine but was thwarted by fog/low stratus layer.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

No precip
Calm winds
Temps in the 20°Fs
Alpine obscured, decent vis below

Snow surface

4" of soft snow over very thin freezing fog crust below. This crust isn't noticeable skiing with soft snow below. The thin melt-freeze crust from the 1/20-1/21 storm was evident in hand pits to around 2000' down 6" also not noticeable skiing.


In the past week Summit got 6-8" of snow, Turnagain got around 2' and 4' fell in at upper elevations in Girdwood. As Summit is out of the CNFAIC forecast area and generally has a different snowpack, it is interesting to track the layers in this zone.
Similar to other tours in Summit region pole probes easily drop away below New Years crust into the November facets in the terrain we toured in. Hand pits at 1600' failed on isolation on small facets over the New Years crust around a foot and half down. In our pits at the higher elevation there was not a layer of reactive facets on the crust.

We dug 2 pits at 2460' within 20' of each other. The top 4" slid off the freezing fog crust easily in shovel tilt test in both locations.
The difference in the deeper structure was notable and illustrates the variability that has been observed with the New Years layer and the likelihood of impacting lower layers. Heather had toured in Summit the day prior and had better visibility. She did not see much avalanche activity but there was one mid elevation crown on Templeton which is likely attributed to the structure similar to Pit #1.

Pit # 1: HS: 130 cm. Ski pen 15 cm. Boot pen to upper thigh. New Years crust was 45 cm down, thin and decomposing. The November facets were 65-70 cm down. CT16 SC, ECTP26, ECTP Overdrive(33), PST 40/100 End. In the pit wall of the side where the PST was isolated the New Years crust was multi-layered and thicker.

Pit # 2: HS: 160 cm. Ski pen 20 cm. Boot Pen 45cm. The New Year Crust was 45 cm down but was thicker and multi-layered. The multiple layers spanned 35 cm over the November facets. There were no results in stability tests in this pit.

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