While traveling along the Sunburst common west ridge up-track I stepped of the
beaten track a few times onto wind loaded areas. I was able to collapse these
wind slabs but did not trigger any avalanches – slope was not steep enough and
wind slabs seems to be a bit more stubborn.
Snowpack pit results from the common west ridge of Sunburst above treeline can
be seen in the photos.
I performed many ECT tests that point to a wind slab moderately easy to trigger
and if triggered has the potential to propagate and release the whole wind slab.
These slabs are anywhere from small and harmless to much larger and dangerous
depending on the size of the slab and slope.
The weak layer is old snow surface that turned to near surface facets (NSF)
during the cold weather the last two weeks of Nov and the first week of Dec.
Even though there are many weak layers under the storm snow from 12/7 the weakest
layer right now is the NSF. This is the layer that was so loose and caused the
easy “facet sluffing” prior to Friday’s storm.