Sneaky storm totals in the Ruby Range

CBACCBAC Observations

Date of Observation: 03/04/2023
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Traveled on various aspects of Mt. Owen and Mt. Afley to 13,000′, mostly N/ATL.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: A notable amount of avalanches in the new snow ran overnight, D1 to 1.5, with a couple long running slides approaching D2 in size. These appeared to be a combination of loose snow avalanches and soft slabs of wind drifted snow, on all aspects above treeline.
Conditions were relatively quiet today, I was able to ski trigger a small wind drift and get some shallow sluffs.
Weather: Thin overcast with enough solar to moisten some sunny slopes. Light winds most of the day started ramping up around 2 p.m. At 3p.m. we were on top of Afley and immersed in intense blowing snow and whiteout conditions during strong gusts.
Snowpack: 24-hour storm totals ranged from 10″ near treeline to 16″ in sheltered terrain above treeline! Low density with signs of wind drifting in the more exposed terrain. I produced some localized cracking in those drifts, up to 18″ thick or so. We observed one collapse on a west aspect near treeline of Afley Peak, estimated about 18″ deep on some older facet/crust layers.
Fetches were blown dry at ridgetop from last night’s winds, but there’s still plenty of loose snow available for transport (10-15″) further downslope in alpine fetches or in less exposed near treeline terrain for tomorrow’s winds to work with.