Observation: Summit

Location: Fresno

Route & General Observations

Fresno to 2900′

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

One recent large avalanche crown on a steep SW face further down the Manitoba ridgeline, at ~4000'. The more noticeable mid-slope crown may have been triggered by a smaller slab or cornice fall from the ridgeline above and to lookers left in the photo - see below.

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

Temps in the teens, overcast with a thin cloud layer, generally calm

Snow surface

3" of new snow at the road level yesterday. Yesterday's winds affected the snow surface in clearings above 1500' making the surface snow denser, but no noticeable slabs until treeline. Above 2500', yesterday and prior winds have left a variety of surface conditions... including everything from dirt, the New Years Crust, the 1/25 drizzle crust, a few inches of soft new snow, or, finally, 4-8" thick wind slabs from yesterday.

Ski penetration was ~6" near the road, decreasing with elevation to 0-2" along the ridgeline.


As mentioned above, the 1/25 freezing fog crust could be found along the entire route. Down low, it was barely noticeable in hand pits - only with a bare hand - down ~6" from the surface consistently and surrounded by soft snow. At ridge line, it was thicker and could be found anywhere from on the surface to below new snow, or under new snow and small wind slabs from yesterday as shown in the pit pictured below.

The New Years Crust - as previously reported - varies significantly in how tough it is to break through with ski pole probing. In a distance of 10 feet, it can be easy to punch through or require a great deal of force to punch through to the softer layer below.

Finally, when probing and digging into a small slope at ridgeline that transitioned from dirt to 300cm+ of snow in about 50 yards, we found a thick (10+ cm) layer of large, well developed, and very loose facets under the New Years Crust where the snow depth was ~100 - 150cm. In this location the New Years Crust was close to the surface.

Photos & Video
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