December 26, 2014

Observations – Canyon Road – Peaks 3 & 4

Obvious signs of instability:

  • D1.5 human triggered avalanche with energy and wide propagation on the southerly side of the ridge while traversing from Peak 3 to 4
  • Recent natural avalanches, as evidenced by small D1 crowns in wind loaded areas
  • Localized shooting cracks in wind loaded areas
  • Blowing snow with obvious wind loading


  • Cloudy to obscured skies with an almost continuous, sleety, light snowfall through the day (glazed clothing and gear; capped the surface with a thin, weak, and easily breakable crust in areas)
  • Temps in the mid to upper teens throughout the day
  • Moderate to strong southerly wind throughout the day

Surface conditions:

  • Below ~2500′: very little snow coverage (snow was dry and powdery in the morning, but heavier and wetter by evening)
  • ~2500-3500′: pleasant, wind-deposited powder in the Peak 3 & 4 gullies
  • ~3500’+: generally supportable windboard, with softer wind deposits in places


Skinning just below the southerly ridge triggered this D1.5 avalanche on buried surface hoar identified in observations from the past two weeks (12/12/2014 & 12/19/2014):brian crown

Shooting cracks down from the ridge boot track:crack slab

Energy and wide propagation:crown

Textbook trigger from a thinner, rocky area of the snopwack:rock trigger hoar trigger rock

BIG, standing, and intact surface hoar is the culprit:hoar hoar close

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