February 17, 2014

Observations – Front Range – Canyon Road – Peaks 3 & 4

Signs of instability:

  • Isolated small, shallow, and short-running pockets of wind slab sensitive to human triggers
  • Isolated small, shallow shooting cracks
  • Active wind-loading


  • Mostly cloudy midday becoming partly sunny by mid afternoon
  • Light to moderate E to NE wind
  • Temps above treeline in the low teens

Surface conditions:

  • Return to glory: wind-buffed pow above 2500′ (4+” minimum in gullies up to crotch deep along leeward Peak 3-4 ridge) with almost all scratchiness from old crusts eliminated


President’s Day in the FRange via Canyon Road was a full-on pow day above treeline.

Peak 4’s return to glory:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As mentioned in advisories of late, avalanche concerns have been relegated to near surface instabilities at the old crust/new snow interface and within the new snow at density changes from wind loading.

There has been dramatic wind loading/deposition along the leeward Peak 3-4 ridge:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

An isolated, reactive wind slab pocket near the top of Peak 4 (was obvious due to bulbous appearance) that broke within new snow (harder wind slab less than 3″ thick on top of softer, looser new snow):OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Another isolated and reactive pocket was found just above the previously pictured while skinning back up Peak 4 (less than 2″ thick and also broke within new snow at a density change with firmer wind-affected snow on top of softer snow):OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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