Wind slabs and avalanche, Northern Doyle 3/25 and 3/26

Post snow pack observations - snowpits, avalanche activity, signs of instability.
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Wind slabs and avalanche, Northern Doyle 3/25 and 3/26

Postby splitboarder » March 26th, 2017, 3:36 pm

March 25 still wintery on northerly slopes of Doyle, 10500+ ft elevation. There was about 20-30cm of new March 23rd storm snow sitting on top of a 1 to 5cm frozen melt/freeze crust. Below that were feet of dense 4+finger rounds that were -2° C. The new snow surface was negative -3° C. A 1 degree difference over ~35cm = no temperature gradient on that scale. Good bonding on the old/new snow. No signs of instability. No notable or propagating weaknesses in top 60cm. Very compacted snow below that. 1.6 to 2+ meters total depth with some areas that looked to be 3+.

Closer to the Doyle summit we encountered hard, slippery and icy snow. Southwest winds were actively building wind skins and slabs high on these N slopes.

Time to go down and back to slopes we had evaluated and found good stability.
No signs of avalanches
No loading in 48 hour, cause this looks to be mostly uniform storm snow that has setup quite nicely. (but there were some soft wind skins and slabs just starting to build in mostly detached N slopes higher above, that is why we left that area!)
Yes Path.
Yes Terrain Trap (some trees).
Rating Moderate to low (based on my observations and snow tests, a.k.a. specific terrain now casting)
No unstable signs.
No rabid warming, it is getting colder.
So alptruth 2. Maybe a 3 if my now casting is incorrect. You should consider turning around at 3. We did not.

The sun poked through dramatic fast moving clouds as we enjoyed hero snow turns in the Sickle Moon path. Rooster tail speed party, then it became crusty as colder weather re-froze the lower elevation melt freeze crust in the late afternoon.

March 26 a soft windslab avalanched in Telescope chute, high northern slopes of Doyle, during the windy night. Maybe R2D2 size rating and it ran about 500ft or more vertical.
The North slopes of Doyle and Fremont had new coatings of wind transported snow up high in the starting zones.

So right now. Wind slabs still an issue. Storm slabs maybe not so much anymore.
Maybe more issues later this week with precipitation, wind and cool temperatures forecast for treeline .
Troy Marino is a splitboarder and on the KPAC board of directors.
KPAC Snow Summary.
Future Guidebook?!

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