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Author Topic: June 23, Mt St Helens, spring avalanche study  (Read 984 times)
johnspeth
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June 23, Mt St Helens, spring avalanche study
« on: 06/28/08, 07:18 AM »

We all know it's been a special year for snow.  Until recently, I lived very close to Mt St Helens, so ski trips to that locale were no-brainers when I needed a quick fix.  I thought I'd get a commemorative late spring fix to enjoy the long season.

My Monday June 23 visit to Mt St Helens affirmed the NWAC's spring avalanche predictions.  Seeing evidence of avalanches were/are rare at MSH.  On my trip, however, I saw the aftermaths of at least a dozen slides some of which could have left anyone caught in them seriously injured.

The woods to tree line held plenty of snow - enough to ski all the way back to Marble Mtn Snow Park with only several short carries.  Above tree line, the snow was less abundant than I expected.  The summer solstice sun was really cooking the slopes clean. 

Most, if not all, of the slides appeared to be less than a week old.  Just like the NWAC predictions, the new heavy snow that fell in the past couple of weeks still hadn't bonded to the very old spring snow surface.  There were mostly long wet/high density sluffing slides and few slab releases.  Most of the slab releases ended in long narrow runouts of wet sluffing snow.  It's hard to say if any of these avalanches were human triggered.

The skiing was unexpectedly good considering the weather.  It was a cloudless night followed by a cool cloudy morning.  I suppose the cooler weather inhibited the snow from building up water and giving weight for more slides.  Nothing slid while I was there.

(It's my first post with pics - I hope the three pics stored as attachments made it)


* msh1.JPG (33.49 KB, 640x480 - viewed 353 times.)

* msh2.JPG (17.83 KB, 610x318 - viewed 357 times.)

* msh3.JPG (37.37 KB, 640x480 - viewed 344 times.)
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