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11-04-2005, 09:53 AM #1
05-06 Observations from CO Central & Northern Rockies
Per Trackheads suggestion, would be nice for folks in CO to accumulate snowpack knowledge in one thread that would effectively (or perhaps ineffectively) track conditions over the course of the season, rather than scatter CO specific info amongst different threads.
I titled this one Central and Northern Rockies meaning it might be most useful to stick to these two CAIC designated regions, aimed at those of us who mostly ski Front Range, Park Range, Ten Mile/Sawatch, Mosquitos, Elks, Gore Range. San Juans and Sangres are a whole different game in terms of weather and snowpack, generally, so might make sense to start another thread for that area specifically.
So...with that said, I haven't gotten out yet this year and have nothing to contribute, but thinking of going Sunday, who has shit to share on what conditions are like out there?
11-09-2005, 06:31 AM #2
Last edited by Yossarian; 11-09-2005 at 10:08 AM.Thrutchworthy Production Services
11-09-2005, 06:40 AM #3
Colorado Avalanche Information Center Hazard/Forecasts begin 11-11.
Last edited by Yossarian; 11-09-2005 at 06:44 AM.Thrutchworthy Production Services
11-09-2005, 06:50 AM #4
Boy, doing that sure sobers one up pretty fast. Talk about a hard start to the season here. Look at that list of reports from a 10 day stretch, and then note how many incidents occured.
Be safe everyone!Thrutchworthy Production Services
11-09-2005, 09:38 AM #5
I am planning on making a photo journal of my season (hella gat bitch!). Any snowscience and backcountry observations will end up here. Look for the first instalment here. Cletus, always playing it safe. It'll be good to have you around.
11-10-2005, 09:15 AM #6Warrior of the Wasteland
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Holy Mt.
What about southern rockies? Don't we get any consideration, or
are we not cool enough?!
11-10-2005, 04:07 PM #7Originally Posted by kailas
Yossarian, good action on the links to TRs, that may be a much more elegant way to centralize all the info...Trackheads Wasatch thread shows unfortunate "thread creep" and cuntage when what we really want is a repository of snow info.
I still haven't gotten within 40 miles of skiing this winter, front or backcountry, probably not until 11/20ish.
11-10-2005, 06:12 PM #8
11/10 Berthoud Pass
With forecast highs in the 70s for the city, I got the hell out and went for a tour. A little exersize, a little practice and a couple bonus turns made for a good day. My hopes were not high with the coverage looking like this:
Turns were not a priority. After a short while, this moster came into view.
The is the east face of current creek. I estimate the crown at around 2 meters. Apparently this slid during the wind event of last saturday night. I found a fair size drift and decided to dig around. The snowpack was 110cm deep. Not 20 meters away, the ground was scoured bare. The results were straight scary. Hard slab on TG is to be expected around here and I wasn't disapointed.
This 90cm slab is sitting on about 20cms of TG, depth hoar, rounds, rotten death...whatever you want to call it. When isolated, this column gave way very easily.
The 20cm slab on the left released at "1 from the wrist". It is shown upside down so you can see the quality of the shear. The remaining slab (all four finger to one finger) failed at "3 from the wrist". Very scary. While the hard slab is very cohesive and may bridge, it holds a ton of energy. Heads up.
11-10-2005, 07:18 PM #9
Good shit Foggy!
1 from the wrist !! damn. scary stuff.Drive slow, homie.
11-10-2005, 10:01 PM #10Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles
Thanks for the contribution FG. That is exactly what has been lurking for the past 7 days or so. That hard slab layer first started to take shape about 9 days ago during the first batch of wind. It started after that small 3-6" shot of snow. Since then it's been blowing hard up high, loading up North-east, North, and surprisingly southeast facing slopes.
First time I noticed this thread. Good stuff everyone. Let's keep it up.
11-10-2005, 10:51 PM #11
Yeah, I was up at Loveland Pass today. Dug a pit and did a few shovel shear and rutschblock tests. The slab is super hard, and bridges well, but the shovel shears were "popping" out as soon as I applied the least bit of outward pressure. The rutschblock test did not fail until I jumped hard (rate 5 of 7), but when it did, again, pop. Literally like breaking glass. That was on a 32 degree slope, so it will rate lower on a steeper slope, I am sure.
I concur with FG, lots of energy built up in the slab. Hit that fecker at the thin spot of a convexity, and you may be in for a free hard slab ride.Chocolate? This is doodoo, BABY!
11-11-2005, 06:26 AM #12Warrior of the Wasteland
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Holy Mt.
Look on the bright side, you can make some excellent igloo's right now!
We dont have much snow down here, in fact we seem to be in the
middle of a heat wave. Ullr where are you.
11-11-2005, 08:30 AM #13
From the CAIC:
Early season snows have left us with a typical Colorado weak foundation on the colder NW-N-NE aspects near and above treeline. Strong recent SW winds have built hard & some soft slab on these colder aspects. These hard slabs are capable of supporting a person where they are deep. But where the snow depth thins out a person will likely break through to the weak underlying layers & it then becomes a possibility that the weak layer will fail, & could propagate failure long distances, creating large avalanches, even though the overall snowpack is not deep. That is one characteristic of hard slabs. They can store a great deal of energy, for some time, allowing fractures to propagate long distances when fracture occurs.
11-11-2005, 12:38 PM #14
Hard slabs are scary shit. That CAIC report defintely shows what foggy and everyone has been seeing lately.
I would really like to dig a few pits this weekend and check it out....Drive slow, homie.
11-14-2005, 09:44 PM #15Thrutchworthy Production Services
11-20-2005, 08:56 PM #16
No activity spotted, nor any signs of instability crossed during a northern IPW tour this weekend. The sun and warmth is beginning to take some effect on slopes below 11,000', but cold air still prevails on the higher terrain. Coverage is still pretty thin throughout the IPW, with lot's of loaded gullies and terrain traps beginning to collect wind deposits.
Last edited by iskibc; 11-21-2005 at 01:22 PM.
11-21-2005, 07:34 AM #17
it's still early-ish...IPW???"It is not the result that counts! It is not the result but the spirit! Not what - but how. Not what has been attained - but at what price.
- A. Solzhenitsyn
11-21-2005, 07:54 AM #18Originally Posted by lemon boy
11-21-2005, 09:56 AM #19
D'OH I meant early-ish in the AM why it took me till just now to decifer IPW"It is not the result that counts! It is not the result but the spirit! Not what - but how. Not what has been attained - but at what price.
- A. Solzhenitsyn
11-23-2005, 08:57 AM #20
I've been a little slack on this. To summarize the past 10days...variablility. Snowpack ranges from 0 to 240cm (no shit). The tension in the pack seems be be disapating but high quality shears are still in play. In short, it is gonna take a huge trigger but when it does, heads the fuck up. Going forward, A depth hoar layer that formed on 11/18 (and also some on 11/20) could be a problem. Wind and sun have knocked a lot of it down. However, in sheltered lee areas it was cover with wind trasport so it will remain a problem. If you don't dig, you don't know. If you do dig, you only know about right there. Keep the guard up. Have you don't enough rescue senarios.
side note: it is great to get the touring posse back together. The level of comfort provided by being out in avalanche terrain with people whose abilities you know and trust can't be overstated. Not to mention it's damn fun
11-23-2005, 11:28 PM #21Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles
ps. good pics and info.so many mountains...so little time
11-23-2005, 11:41 PM #22
Nice Work Guys!!!!
Great to see all you guys sharing info and observations with everybody! I'll be finally getting up to Berthoud this weekend. CHEERS.
12-02-2005, 07:49 AM #23
Please be carefull bitches!
Yesterday at and even below tree line, signs of inpending death were evident. Moderate sizes shooting cracks, whoophing and howling winds were the norm. I was triggering 8" to 18" soft slabs on test slopes. I didn't dig so that's about as tech as I'll get. Heavy snow was often grapple.
There is plenty of pow in the trees, no need to get all extremo. Have you and your partners been practicing rescue senarios. I've already tick a couple of people of my "safe to ski with list" as their beacon skills are suspect and they refuse to practice.
12-02-2005, 11:32 AM #24
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12-03-2005, 06:27 PM #25
We've gone red!
Plenty of natural activity was visable from I-70 and inbounds today.