December 19, 2014

Observations – Canyon Road – Peak 4

Obvious signs of instability:

  • Localized cracking in previously windloaded areas
  • Small (D1) wind slab releases while touring along leeward ridge


  • Partly cloudy skies
  • Calm wind with some light breezes along ridge and near peaks
  • Temps in the upper 20s

Surface conditions:

  • Slightly moist, blown-in, and wind-buffed pow in most areas: firmer and thinner below ~3000′, deeper and softer above
  • Localized areas of exposed icy crust (mainly gully sidewalls)
  • Very little snow below ~2500′


There’s an obvious layer of buried surface hoar that has survived, intact, along the leeward (southerly) Peak 3-4 ridge:pk4 bsh

The surface hoar layer did not show itself to be reactive while skiing; likely due to warm temps, moist snow, and the extreme spatial variability of the thin, early season snowpack…but snowpit tests raised concern with this layer as well as other potentially dangerous persistent weak layers deeper within the snowpack:p4 pit p4 pit tracks Peak 4 12-19-14

View of Peak 4 from the Peak 3-4 ridge:p4 & rabbit creek

View down Peak 4:down p4

View up the Powerline Valley from Peak 4:powerline valley

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