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NWAC Avalanche
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Author Topic: February 24, 2012, Snoqualmie Pass  (Read 1582 times)
Charlie Hagedorn

Posts: 1890

February 24, 2012, Snoqualmie Pass
« on: 02/25/13, 09:54 AM »

Fun day out with a WAC group. Forested terrain below the Stump provided ample navigation practice, and somewhat reactive snow gave students a peek at instability.

Pit results on forested W slopes (35-40 degrees, 4.5k)  gave us pause,  ECT28, sudden planar Q1 at the crust ~80 cm down. Same layer went at CT3 a few feet away.  The crust interfaces may be starting to decompose. Graupel layer 6" down was less reactive than Saturday, sluffs barely ran.

The pits didn't jive with the rest of our experience - test slopes wouldn't move, and nothing wanted to move when we skied similar aspect and elevation, but lower angle slopes. 60-80 cm may be too far down for reliable triggering of test slopes.

Stump lap was fun, and we had time for another, so we headed for Commonwealth from atop the Stump. Wary of the Q1 result, we dug in again on the north side of the ridge, ~15 vf below the ridge.. No results from two ECTs, nor from prying or generally obliterating the columns with continued taps from the shoulder. Skied slope in blocks, one at a time. No instability noted. Commonwealth luge track is sublime and nicely banked.

Very fine-grained freezing precipitation between ~10:30 and 12:30, laying down a thin zipper crust atop the snow. Didn't impede skiing.  Sunbreaks became filtered full sun on and off through the afternoon, perhaps enhancing the crust.

Fun day with a great group. Too busy to take photos on the outing, so here's a photo of the Pancake House to celebrate our snowpack. Note front-end loader cab barely visible beneath the entry portico.

* pancakeHaus.jpg (191.45 KB, 800x406 - viewed 710 times.)
« Last Edit: 02/25/13, 10:54 AM by Charlie Hagedorn » Logged


Posts: 229

Re: February 24, 2012, Snoqualmie Pass
« Reply #1 on: 02/25/13, 10:51 AM »

Appreciate the details provided -  good for your team for testing rather than just assuming.
Chris S

Posts: 203

Re: February 24, 2012, Snoqualmie Pass
« Reply #2 on: 02/26/13, 02:41 PM »

FWIW, I was there as well with a Pro Guiding Servive AIARE 1 class.  We also dug pits on the Kendal Stump ridge, on the East aspect, 30 deg, at 4650'.  The snowpack was right side up except for a thin layer approximately 20-25cm down that we penetrated on foot and ski - it was Fist above and below, but 4 Finger to 1 Finger in the layer.  In our pits we consistently (6 CT and DT tests) had CT with Moderate results, Q3, 35cm down on a thin (1cm) layer of mixed graupel and deformed/fragmented; DT with Hard results, Q2, 80cm down on facets.  I demonstrated one ECT, which resulted in a 40cm failure on 17/18, again at the 80cm facet interface.  We skied the west and east slope of the ridge with some sluff management on steeper slopes.
« Last Edit: 02/26/13, 02:46 PM by Chris S » Logged

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