Public Observation #2021-531

December 29, 2021 7:51 PM
Observation Date:
December 29, 2021
Zone or Region:
Central Cascades
None reported
Dug a pit and did CT and ECT to see whether we felt comfortable riding the bowl today. Dug a pit on E aspect at the top of the bowl above the rocks in the middle of the bowl (test pit slope angle: 19*). Mostly cloudy with some sun breaks, dug the pit around 11am. Findings were as follows:
-230cm total snow depth (lots of wind loading)
-Cornice on skier's left of the bowl was surprisingly small (~2-4ft) with no signs of recent cornice failures
-Generally right-side-up snowpack
-Top ~1m of snow profile (top to bottom) was 2cm of loose airy powder (snow "flakes" still intact), 0.5cm of finger hard "mist" crust (didn't rain but someone told me there was mist overnight), 15cm fist snow, 60cm 1 finger snow, and below that seemed to all be pencil snow
-Pocket of slightly lower density snow from 30cm to 40cm depth

Test results:
-CT easy (5): Q2 non-reactive crack @ 15cm
-CT easy (10): Q4 non reactive crack @ 22cm
-CT hard (8): Q1 shear
-ECT results were exactly the same as above, with nothing propagating horizontally

We decided to ski the bowl and be conservative by going one at a time and avoiding trigger points (rocks in the middle of the bowl, and a fumarole under the cornice side).

Saw lots of people skiing the bowl and enjoying deep powder (though I underestimated that "mist" crust at first). Also saw some folks transitioning to skins in the middle of the potential debris path if it were to slide, so I let them know. I see lots of people transitioning there and I've done it myself in the past...oops. Stay safe & careful out there!!