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Facets on Paulina Peak

RED FLAGS
Rapid temperature rise
Observation Date/Time:
Tue, Feb 23, 2021 - 5:45 PM
Reporter(s):
Erik McLaury
Location/Elevation:
Newberry Crater Area
Report Type:
Snow Conditions  
Travel Mode:
Ski or Snowboard  

Written Report:
Went out to check out Paulina Peak area and eye the Big Easy Chute.

We found up to 30 cm of new storm snow, varying between loose dry and windslab on top of last weeks thin rain crust. We didn't observe any surface instabilities in this new storm snow.

However, at the base of the big easy chute, we dug a pit at 6900' on the apron, on a north aspect. Height of snowpack was 150cm. We found several problem weak layers that were reactive in our column tests. We found a layer of 1.5mm facets 80cm down below a rain crust, that failed once at CT12 sudden collapse, and again ECTP 28 sudden collapse. Scary results. Additionally we found large, sugary facets near the ground, which failed on deep tap test CT 20 SC.

These results were enough to turn us away from the steeper, north facing lines off the peak. We thought: wow, this is how folks in continental snowpacks must be feeling this winter. Also, we'd like to encourage a COAC pro to investigate this area and provide a profile/obs. Its not often we get rotten/sugary snow so close to Bend.

It was a warm day, and we did begin to see roller balls and loose wet slides on sunny, south facing aspects. Expect a suncrust moving forward this week.

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