January 17, 2016


Front Range: Peak 3-4

Obvious signs of instability:

  • D1 human triggered wind slabs: leeward ridge between Peak 3-4 and near the top of Peak 4 on steep (35*+) terrain with fat wind loaded pillows in rocky areas
  • Short shooting cracks: wind loaded pillows along the leeward ridge line and near peaks

Surface conditions:

  • Generally, ~16-18″ soft and light snow from Saturday-Monday
  • Stiff, wind-affected snow along ridges


  • Below 2500″: not much of a base (primarily facets and faceting wind slab) beneath Satuday-Monday snow
  • Above 2500′: P hardness old wind slab beneath 18″+ (more in wind loaded areas) Saturday-Monday snow; variable faceted layers, old wind slabs, and depth hoar below

Wind loaded terrain on leeward side of ridge (pole is ~130cm):

Wind loaded, leeward side of Peak 3-4 ridge (areas such as this steeper than 35* are likely the most prone to avalanche):

Closeup look at wind affected snow in areas most prone to avalanche where terrain is steeper than 35* (it has a stiff feel at the surface and the snow is noticeably deeper than in other areas; near the rocks are especially sensitive trigger points):