Avalanche: Summit

Location: Tenderfoot

Route & General Observations

We toured to about 3,300’ on the Tenderfoot Ridge on a beautiful day. The surface within treeline was soft settled snow except on southerly facing slopes which had a sun crust. In the upper elevations the surface was a mix of wind effected snow. We dropped down to 3,100’ to dig a pit on a south facing slope just below the ridge. We got some concerning results described in the snowpack section. The set up for an avalanche exists with a slab of snow sitting on top of a weak layer that is showing signs that if you find the right trigger spot it could fail. From several other observations this week we know this set up exists at different elevations and on different aspects from the place we tested today. You can completely avoid this problem by sticking to slopes less than 30 degrees.


Avalanche Details
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Trigger UnknownRemote Trigger Unknown
Avalanche Type UnknownAspect Unknown
ElevationunknownSlope Angleunknown
Crown DepthunknownWidthunknown
Vertical Rununknown  
Avalanche Details

We saw some new wet loose avalanches on the south facing slopes of Gilpatrick Mountain. We also noticed an older avalanche on the west face of Templeton. I'm unsure when this avalanche occurred, but I didn't see it last week.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
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Gorgeous day in the backcountry, partly cloudy skies, temperatures were in the mid-20’s F, and winds were calm.

Snow surface

There is 6-8” of soft settled snow above a stout crust from the President’s Day warm storm. The crust is up to 4” thick in places. It gets thinner above 2,300’ and disappears around 2,600’. There were ermine, ptarmigan, and snowshoe hare tracks on the surface today too!


We dug a pit at 3,100’ on a southwest aspect where the snowpack was 4.5’ deep (139cm). We did get some concerning results in this snowpit that show there is a weak layer about 1.5’ below the surface that has enough energy to avalanche if it is triggered (CT11 PC 5cm down, CT17 SC 49cm down, ECTN11 – 5cm down, and ECTP21 – 49cm down). At this elevation we were above the President’s Day crust/facet combination, so I think the layer is the January facets. The facets are still loose and don’t want to stick together.

Photos & Video
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