January 3, 2014

Observations – South Fork Eagle River – Peak 1212 (North Bowl area)

Signs of instability:

  • Wind loading


  • Mostly cloudy with heavily rimed snow particles falling lightly from 1-3pm
  • Moderate southeast winds loading leeward aspects and deposition areas
  • Temps in the 20s

Surface Conditions:

  • Chalky, wind-packed snow in less wind-exposed areas
  • Bare, melt-freeze crust and ground in the most wind-exposed areas
  • Supportable snow in all mid to upper elevation areas with coverage (no breakable crusts at/above treeline)

Snowpack discussion:

Winds picked up sooner than expected and were blowing moderately (enough to transport the limited amounts of loose snow) by this afternoon, loading leeward (primarily northerly) aspects.  Newly formed wind crusts/slabs at the surface were reactive, but thin and too patchy for large avalanches due to limited loose snow available for redistribution.

First snowpit profiled above Hunter Pass on the approach to North Bowl in the start zone of the path that was responsible for a partial burial on December 19, 2013:


above Hunter Pass

Second snowpit profiled off the skier’s right shoulder of North Bowl, just below where the top ridge becomes corniced (in start zone just skier’s right of large Thanksgiving weekend avalanche):N Bowl R shoulder

Pluming from southerly winds loading North Bowl below top ridge:


Observed danger:

  • Moderate – primarily for wind slabs and lingering persistent slabs

Expected danger for Saturday, January 4, 2013:

  • Moderate – primarily for wind slabs and lingering persistent slabs; increasing danger from Friday due to sustained wind speeds capable of redistributing snow, building new wind slabs, and further loading existing wind slabs and persistent slabs

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