February 19, 2016


Front Range: South Fork Campbell Creek (Powerline Valley), Ptarmigan North

Red flags (obvious signs of instability):

  • None observed


  • Overcast skies becoming obscured further up the valley by mid afternoon, some very light snow starting to trickle in
  • Temps in the 20s
  • Light SE wind

Surface condtions:

  • Variable dry, winter snow comprised of boilerplate wind slab, supportable wind slab, breakable wind slab, wind buffed powder


Numerous handpits revealed faceted layer(s) between wind slab(s) within the upper 3′ of snowpack.  As elevation increased, fresher wind slab at the surface became more prominent (ranging from a thin wind “skin” to slab several inches thick).  By ~3500′ the fresher wind slab at the surface (likely formed Wednesday) became more continuous and thicker.  By ~4000′ we turned around due to wind slab concerns.

Of interest to climbers, here are some photos of Hookers and the mixed routes area:FullSizeRender Ptarm mixed area


Eagle River – South Fork

Route & General Observations:

Due to wind distribution, snow coverage is varied from bare to drifted areas almost 2m deep. We dug on a 32 degree NE slope at about 2600′. In places, there were several thin layers of
pencil-1finger windslab cracking under our skis. Within the top 20cm we found 3 different layers of facets sandwiched between the windslab layers that failed sudden-resistent planar. The lower snowpack was pencil hard to ground.

Red flags (obvious signs of instability):

  • Cracking of upper windslab


  • No new snow. Previous north to east wind. -2C


  • CTE down 2cm in 0.3mm facets RP, CTM down 13cm in 1m facets, CTM-H down 20cm in 1m facets. These facet layers were all sandwiched between pencil-1 finger windslabs.