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Ball Butte and Broken Top

Observation Date/Time:
Fri, Feb 14, 2020 - 5:02 PM
Phil Bowker
Broken Top Area / 7733'
Report Type:
Snow Conditions   No Avalanche Activity  
Travel Mode:
Snowmobile   Ski or Snowboard  
Sky Conditions:
Scattered (3/8 - 4/8)
New Snow:
5 cm
Wind Direction/Speed:
W / Moderate: 17-25 mph

Written Report:
At 11:36am today on Ball Butte visibility was good with broken skies, air temp was -6c, it was not snowing, but significant wind transported snow could be observed from moderate west winds.

Starting skinning up the south ridge of Ball Butte there looked to be about 5cm of new snow on the ground, boot penetration was 23cm. It was not long before the ridge became unclimbable without crampons as the winds had scoured the snow down to last weeks rain crust.

On a NE aspect at around 7733' I did manage to find a small reactive wind slab while ski cutting. It produced a small R1D1 avalanche with a 31cm crown. It ran on the rain crust from last week. See pics

On the rest of my tour of Ball Butte I tested snow on north east and south aspects getting hard hand shear results and no cracking of whumphing while ski cutting.

Over on Broken Top I climbed to the south east ridge and dug a pit on an east aspect at 8200' In a compression test I observed a CT28 BRK between the old and new snow interface 31cm down. I skied the area beside the bench above "No Name Lake" again I did not see any cracking of whumphing while ski cutting.

By the end of the day the winds had become light and wind transported snow was greatly reduced. Although I only encountered one small isolated patch of wind slab on my tour its certainly worth being cautious on lee slopes in that area.



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