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Ball Butte conditions

Observation Date/Time:
Thu, Mar 26, 2020 - 12:00 PM
Aaron Hartz
Broken Top Area
Report Type:
Snow Conditions  
Travel Mode:
Ski or Snowboard  

Written Report:
I toured on SE, E, and NE aspects on Ball Butte. in wind sheltered areas I found 20 cm of recent storm snow sitting on a melt freeze crust. The new snow seems to be bonding well to the old crust. On easterly lee slopes the snow was drifted up to 60 cm deep. I did not observe any stiff windslabs that are typical with many storms. Instead I found lightly drifted in snow that had multiple density changes in the upper 15-30 cm. Hand sheer tests and shovel tilt tests revealed some moderate failures on these density changes. There were several small skier triggered slabs on east aspects that failed on density changes in the upper pack (see pictures).
As the day progressed, the recent snow was gaining slab properties, i.e. it began showing more cohesion. On several steep convex rolls, I observed cracking radiating from my skis during ski cuts, but the slab just didn't move.
Overall, today at Ball Butte, there was the potential to trigger a small slab, but not a lot of potential for the slab to propagate across the slope.

The wind was light out of the SW-W-NW throughout my tour. I observed no blowing snow. The air temperature was below freezing. The moon mountain weather station reported a high air temperature of 24F at 2pm.


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