Surface obs before the storm

CBACCBAC Observations

Date of Observation: 02/13/2023
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: East Beckwith, traveled on SE to NE aspects to 11,600′

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Skier triggered a small sluff that gouged into old snow on a very steep, rocky face with a shallow snowpack.
Weather: Clouds increased late morning from clear to overcast. Light snowfall began around 1 p.m. along with periods of snow transport from moderate south winds.
Snowpack: The snow surface is faceted on colder aspects: anything north of ESE. Like our January layer, the weak layer on our snow surface isn’t large and well-developed, but could cause storm instabilities to be more sensitive or persist a little while longer than normal. On due east and east-southeast aspects, there is a thin crust (.5 to 3 cm) above small-grained facets (.5-1 mm), with dry, small-grained facets above the crust (.5 mm). On anything north of due east, the crust is lacking, just small-grained facets (.5-.75mm). On southeast and south, the crust is thicker and I didn’t observe any facets above it. As we gained elevation, surfaces are more variable from wind effects and facets are less widespread, with more fragmented and rounded grains from previous wind damage. Snow surfaces are weakest near steep and rocky terrain where the snowpack is shallower.