Public Observation #2023-1062

March 4, 2023 12:01 PM
Observation Date:
March 3, 2023
Zone or Region:
Central Cascades
Elk mtn
Did you trigger any avalanches? 
Was it intentional? 
Avalanche Type:
Soft Slab
D2: Could bury, injure, or kill a person
None reported
Group of 3 went to Elk mtn and proceeded to ascend ridge.  No instabilities noted on ascent (both in skin track and views of descent area from approach).  The line we chose drops fairly mellow off the ridge on NE aspect, probably around 30 deg for a couple hundred feet to a slight bench by some trees and then a rollover.  We rode one at a time down to the bench without incident in excellent snow.  At the bench the first rider dropped into the rollover, and after a few turns triggered a soft slab that broke above and behind, and was carried approx 200’, fortunately through open terrain and stayed on top and was uninjured, we had eyes on the whole time and confirmed status immediately.  We continued down slope using the avalanche path.  The crown started only 20’ or so below us, and just getting to it released a bit of hang fire.  Crown was about 1.5’ and maybe 200’ across.  At the bottom we saw another party of 2 had skied a slope immediately adjacent on similar aspect with an even steeper rollover feature without incident.

The bed surface the slide ran on was harder than the slab above it, but not exceedingly so.  I’m guessing maybe that layer consolidated a bit from the sun and slightly warmer temps on Wed, then the slab over it was from the snow/wind on Thurs.

I have additional pics if anyone at coavy is interested (email submitted with observation).