Ball Butte & Full profile

Red Flags:
Rapid temperature rise

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Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 6:15 PM
Aaron Hartz
Pro Ob
Broken Top Area (44.063328, -121.672161)
Ob Date/Time:
Wed, Apr 17, 2019 - 5:49 PM
Report Type:
Snow Conditions
Mode of Travel:
Ski or Snowboard

Written Report:
It was my turn to dig a full profile this week. I dug in on the east side of Ball Butte (see profile below). I found no major weak layers in the upper 1 meter of snow (3ft). There are quite a few layer boundaries from the recent storms. Some of these layer boundaries could weaken and fail if enough water sinks into the snow pack from melting (wet slab). At the time of my profile, free water was not percolating more that 4-5cm. By 1pm I could squeeze water out of a snowball from surface snow. At this elevation, any deeper wet layers formed during the rain events over a weak ago, have frozen up and no longer are weak layers in the snowpack.

There were a few natural small loose wet slides on SE slopes on Ball Butte above treeline.
From the summit of Ball I could see numerous loose wet slides high in the Broken Top bowl on southerly aspects. There was also a natural slab avalanche at the top of the 'Pucker Up' run on Brokent Top (SE, above treeline). I could also see avalanche debris on the east flanks of Broken Top...Gabe got a closer look at these (see his report also from today).

The sky cleared to just a few clouds later in the day. The wind shifted from the SW, NW, N, and NE throughout my tour. The temperature has risen throughout the day; the Moon Mountain weather station reported a temperature of 8C (47F) at 5pm!

Ski quality was ok, the snow on east aspects was smooth but sticky in some places. I avoided skiing steep terrain on southerly aspects.
Temperature: 3.5°C Sky: Scattered skies Wind: Northwest @ 1-16 mph
Elevation: 7440 ft Aspect/Slope: East / 27°


Caption: Profile from east side of Ball Butte

Caption: Small size D1 loose wet on SE aspect of Ball Butte