The wind hath no mercy

CBACCBAC Observations

Date of Observation: 12/23/2022
Name: Zach Guy

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Route Description: Baxter Basin and Cascade Mtn, traveled on north, east, and south aspects to 11,700′

Observed avalanche activity: Yes
Avalanches: Nothing new today. A handful of small wind slabs at all elevations and one potentially larger avalanche off of the Shield on Emmons appear to have run during the arctic blast.
Weather: Few clouds, light winds, mild temps.
Snowpack: As is often the case with these extreme wind events, the terrain got ravaged and there appears to be far more wind erosion than loading from Wednesday night’s event. Lots of sastrugi and raised tracks on all aspects. Winds eroded down to the early December graupel layer in areas, which was buried about 50 cm deep a few days ago. Of course, there are some terrain features that caught the drifting snow and formed hard slabs, most commonly abrupt concavities or rollovers. Ski cuts and snowmobile cuts on numerous of these suspect features produced minimal signs of instability; one slope cracked. Probably the best news from all the devastation is that the near-surface facet layer that was quite weak and soft on the surface a few days ago has been destroyed in many areas because of the wind event. I found it still preserved in very sheltered trees below about 5″ of recent snow, and below sun crusts on southerlies where the winds hadn’t stripped the crusts away.