Observation: Other Regions

Location: Seattle Ridge

Route & General Observations

For the past 3 days, we have been digging hand pits, jumping on
test slopes, and doing compression tests at: Tincan, Sunburst,
and Repeat Offender above the snowmachine uptrack. There has
been one common theme in all of my observations. I keep getting
the new storm snow to fail about 1/2 inch above the top rain
crust. That interface is probably where the “upside down” part
of the snowpack is. In case you don’t remember, there was 6
inches of light densisty snow on top of the rain crust before
this last storm dumped about 2 feet of heavier snow on top. Its
been very difficult to find that upside down interface in my
snowpits because it has been squashed a bunch, but we know its
there. I found it a bit more in this pit than my others, or
maybe I convinced myself that I felt it because I know its
suppose to be there.

The failures in my pits have consistantly been in the low 20’s
with a moderate Q2 shear in my pits. The text book says these
type of test scores indicate “good stabiliy where a compact group
of skiers, a snowmobile or explosives may trigger an avalanche.
Natural avalanches are rare”.

Yesterday 01/19/2010, we did not feel any collapsing, see any
shooting cracks, or see any test slopes fail like we have for the
past two days, but we were also on our snowmachines where it is
sometimes more difficult to get those types of observations.

Personally, I still get the “ooga boogas” when I think about
skiing big terrain right now; so, I’m going to keep it mellow
till I don’t get that layer to fail above that rain crust. That
might take a couple more days. I think it would be wise to stay
away from big slopes today, but as the Dude would say, “that is
just like my opinion…man.”

Another point of interest is that compared to last week’s pit on
Repeat Offender, the temperature gradient has improved above and
below the crusts. Last week, the temps had a much more drastic
change immediately above and below the crusts. According to
yesterday’s pit, there is no current indication of facets growing
above or below any of those crusts