The tale of two snowpacks

CBACCBAC Observations

Date of Observation: 03/06/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Southeast Mountains
Route Description: Anthracite Mesa. Traveled mostly on NE and SW aspects to 10,900 ft.

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: We saw a couple of small natural soft slabs that likely ran yesterday on the storm interface (a sun crust) on cross drifted, south facing, below treeline slope. Decent visibility looking towards Schuylkill Ridge and couldn’t see any fresh large slides.
Weather: Overcast with light snowfall filling in this afternoon. Light winds with moderate gusts out of the southwest shifting to west. No blowing snow where we were; couldn’t see the alpine.
Snowpack: Up to 16″ of settled storm snow, still fist hard. Once we ventured off of the beaten skin track on Coney’s, we got numerous rumbling collapses about 3 feet deep on the mid-February dryspell layer. These were on NE aspects and a WNW aspect on slopes less than 35 degrees. Most of these collapses required a few hard stomps with my skis to initiate, a couple went while simply breaking trail. Conversely, on southerly aspects, our only concerns were managing storm snow instabilities over thick crusts left behind by the warmup. The new snow appears to be bonding well to the storm interface below the treeline on those sunny aspects, based on ski cuts and a lack of cracking in steep terrain. I poked into one bedsurface from the 2/23 cycle on a NE aspect. The dryspell facets are still intact (and worse off than slopes that haven’t avalanched) but it doesn’t seem as if this storm produced enough of a slab for repeat offenders here yet; I got non-propagating pit results and no signs of instability on the slope.