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Ball Butte

Observation Date/Time:
Tue, Dec 1, 2020 - 8:06 PM
Reporter(s):
Aaron Hartz
Location/Elevation:
Broken Top Area
Report Type:
Snow Conditions   No Avalanche Activity  
Travel Mode:
Ski or Snowboard  

Written Report:
I toured on Ball Butte today and traveled on southerly, east, and SW aspects. The snow coverage is surprisingly good for this time of year. I measured 130 to 150 cm (51 - 59") of snowpack in the near treeline area.

The snow surface at Ball Butte was highly wind affected, although in wind protected areas there were powder turns to be had.

Wind slabs formed during the recent storm on south and east aspects were trending to being well bonded. I found no cracking in the windslab and I could not get the slab to move under my skis.

I dug into the snow at 7400' on the east aspect to check on the upper pack. I found two layers of poorly developed facets (weaker snow; see picture). Snowpack testing suggests these layers are stubborn. I do not expect any activity on these layers currently, but they will be something to keep an eye on when we get more snow loading.

I observed no other signs of unstable snow. I observed no signs natural or human triggered avalanches.

The air temperature crept up to freezing in the afternoon, but felt much colder with the cool east wind.
Wind was out of the east and northwest and ranged from light to moderate. There were periods of blowing snow at ridge top
The sky was mostly clear throughout the tour.

Additional information:
Moderate results during hand sheer tests on recently formed windslabs; east aspect near treeline.
@ 7400', east aspect: CT23 RP down 20cm (poorly developed faceted snow)
CT26 RP down 50cm (poorly developed faceted snow)
ECTN 23 down 20cm


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