Tumalo Conditions and Snow Profile

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Friday, Feb 24, 2017 8:43 PM
Aaron Hartz
Pro Ob
Three Sisters Area (44.009135, -121.642513)
Ob Date/Time:
Fri, Feb 24, 2017 - 7:09 PM
Report Type:
Snow Conditions
Mode of Travel:
Ski or Snowboard

Written Report:
What a big difference a couple of days makes. On Tuesday at the Todd Lake area, Gabe and I were getting storm slabs to move on most convex slopes over 35 degrees. Today, the storm snow on Tumalo seemed to be consolidating and bonding well.

Skinning up on the west side from Dutchman Flat, results from a quick test pit showed storm snow to be bonding well (see below for details). Wind was light out of the WSW, with no blowing snow present. On the summit, the wind was still light out of the SW and the air temperature cooled noticeably to -11C(12F). I was curious about the avalanche that was reported yesterday (Feb 23). The debris was still visible, going all the way to the trees.
Large cornices, exist in many places above the bowl. They are definitely something to be cautious of. There are a few places where riders can enter the bowl with the absence of cornice, just be careful looking for them. There was a slab avalanche crown under the cornice break that was associated with the debris that ran down the entire bowl. The crown was approximately 35cm thick and most likely a wind slab (see picture). There was a second avalanche directly to skiers left and also appeared to be associate with a cornice break. There was a shallow slab crown approximately 15cm thick that stepped down into a much deeper layer with a crown of 45cm thick (see picture). As I skied near the top of the bowl, there was no cracking in the wind slab and no snow moved under my skis. The skiing in the bowl was good.

From the bowl, I contoured around to the north and dug into the snow. See below for full profile graph. There were no notable results during snow pack tests. The storm snow seems to be bonding well. As I skinned around to the west side, I skied over some convex rollers and I saw no cracking or slabs moving under my skis.

The air temperature remained well below freezing today and kept the surface snow light and made for great skiing.

As always, remember snow pack conditions change with aspect and elevation and also across the range.

Weather and Snow Pack Details::

Time: 12:00 Elevation: 6526ft Location: West side of Tumalo
Aspect: WSW Sky: Overcast
Precip: No Air Temp: -8.5C (17F)
Wind: Calm/Light WSW
Height of snow: 285cm(112")
Boot Pen: 45cm Ski Pen: 10cm
Shovel Tilt Test Hard down 25cm
CTM down 25cm RP
CTH down 35 BRK

Time: 13:00 Elevation: 7775ft Location: Tumalo summit
Sky: Overcast
Precip: Snow; less than 1cm/hr Air Temp: -11C (12F)
Wind: Light WSW

See profile graph for north side deets


Caption: Tumalo snow profile

Caption: Crown associate with avalanche debris running the length of the bowl

Caption: Second avalanche crown to skiers left