December 19, 2013

Front Range – Peak 3

Provided by Phil:

9 pm 12/19:

Calm winds except moderate down valley Rabbit Cr, temp at TH 15, with inversion approx 10 deg warmer near ridgetops, high clouds.

Coverage is minimal, but adequate for turns in terrain depressions and gullies.

Snowpack shows light new snow 2-3 inches in depth over fairly widespread supportable wind crust from 1 to 3 inches thick at 1 finger hardness over the lower density snow from last weekend, which collapses easily under skis.  Nearing the ridgetops, the crust stiffens and collapses extend 20-30 ft.  Descending, the gully was consistent easy skiing with good coverage.  Careful exit required below brush line.

The warm temps forecast for the weekend bode well for the wind crust/old snow interface but I would be cautious tomorrow in exposed areas near ridgelines with stiffer wind slab that I suspect would propagate easily based on the conditions tonight.

*Another observer heading to Peak 3 earlier in the day reported suspect wind slab on the way up.  He turned around and skied Peak 2, which he reported to seem better both stability and snow quality wise.

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