Tumalo tour conditions

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Friday, Apr 7, 2017 5:22 PM
Aaron Hartz
Pro Ob
Three Sisters Area (44.005742, -121.642857)
Ob Date/Time:
Fri, Apr 7, 2017 - 4:44 PM
Report Type:
Snow Conditions
Mode of Travel:
Ski or Snowboard

Written Report:
It was nice to see 6cm (2.5") of new snow in the trees. It was just enough to give a nice reset to the surface. The new snow was sitting on a thin melt freeze crust. However, anywhere the trees did not provide protection from the wind, the surface was either scoured or covered with wind drifts or new wind slab. The wind was light in the trees but as I approached the summit of Tumalo and moved into the sparse trees the wind was moderate out of the SW with strong gusts. There was constant blowing snow. Most of the upper west flank below the summit was scoured with the occasional wind drift/wind slab. On the summit there was blowing snow traveling to the NE-N. It was actively loading the easterly facing bowl and the North side. There are still some monster cornices on top of the bowl. It looked like there were some new diving boards growing outward from the snow and wind this storm is delivering. I was very cautious about the new wind slab in the bowl. I went far skiers left and eased into the bowl off the ridge. The wind slab was stubborn. I did not see any cracks or slabs break loose beneath my skis. On the north side of Tumalo there were wind slabs up to 60cm (2ft) thick! They were also stubborn and I could not get any of them to move and I did not see any cracks shooting away from my skis.

Today, the wind slabs seemed well bonded on Tumalo. However that may not be the case tomorrow or in others areas of the region. Wind slabs are definitely on my problem list for areas near and above treeline. With just 6cm of storm snow the wind deposited snow up to 60cm thick on the northerly lee slopes. That is really something! At the present time, I was not seeing a storm slab problem.

Skiing in the westside trees was good. The old snow was supportable, and the 6cm of new snow made for a smooth ride.

More snow and weather information:
Time: 12:00 Elevation: 6650ft Location: west side of Tumalo
Sky: mostly couldy/broken sky
Precip: Light snow Temp: -5.5C (22F)
Wind: in the trees the wind was Light - SW; gusts were moderate and swirling from S-W-N
Blowing snow: Light during gusts
Shovel Tilt test: no result
CTM RP down 6cm just above melt freeze crust
CTM BRK down 17cm in thick layer of melt forms
CTH PC down 25cm in thick layer of melt forms

Time: 13:40 Elevation: 7700ft Location: Tumalo summit
Sky: mostly cloudy/broken sky
Precip: None
Wind: Moderate - SW & strong gusts from the SW and W
Blowing snow - moderate

Weather & Snowpack
Temperature: -5.5°C Sky: Broken skies Precip: S-1 Very light snow
New Snow: 6cm cm Snow Depth: 320 cm Elevation: 6650 ft