Public Observation #2022-887

December 10, 2022 5:31 PM
Observation Date:
December 10, 2022
Zone or Region:
Central Cascades
NE aspect of Talapus Butte
Did you see shooting cracks? 
Did you experience collapsing or whumpfing? 
Toured out at Talapus Butte on a northeast aspect below treeline. Our elevation was between 5600 and 6000 feet. On our way up did not see any signs of wind-affected snow, however, we did encounter shooting cracks in the snow coming from our skis near the top of the butte. The outside temperature and density of the snow steadily rose throughout our tour from approximately 8:30 am to 1:00 pm. The weather was cloudy with minimal wind and light snow showers towards the end of our tour.

We dug a pit to ground at 5900 feet on a northeast aspect in a relatively open glade with these results:
CT 21 Q2 at the interface between the new storm snow and snow from last week.
Shovel sheer Q2 with moderate force at same interface as compression test
Fracture within 1 m of surface: yes
Fracture layer 1: yes, fist to 4 finger at fracture
Grain size difference of greater than 1 mm: no
Evidence of persistent grains: no, could not identify buried surface hoar.

Snowpack in our location was 115 cm deep and was right side up ranging from fist to 1 finger hardness progressing downward.
We skied a few laps, gradually moving into 30 – 35 degree slopes in some nicely spaced trees as we did not observe any more signs of instability. Some small trees and downed logs were still visible, but most were covered enough to not be an issue. ~ 2 feet of nice snow provided some great turns, and the sun even came out on our snowmobile ride out.