Public Observation #2022-905

December 18, 2022 9:43 AM
Observation Date:
December 17, 2022
Zone or Region:
Paulina Peak
None reported
Short ski tour of Paulina Peak in blue-bird conditions. Temp was around 23c at 1000 when skiing the East Bowl from the summit (~8000'). Skied past 2 previous full profile pits. Multiple hand shears in the trees detected the buried surface hoar ~45cm down on east facing slopes, but further informal testing showed it was non-reactive (no propagation). Direct morning sun had warmed the snow despite the cold temps, and multiple small point release sloughs were triggered on descent down ~36deg slope (R0.5, D0.5). At lower elevations (~6700'), widespread & impressive (2+cm) surface hoar was observed. Wind slabs (breakable & 10cm thick at most) were present in the throat of the lower NE Bowl where wind was actively packing heavy spindrift onto the slope. No instability detected throughout tour, and densely treed slopes were holding powder better than more sun and wind affected terrain nearby. Nearby Paulina Creek Falls was not entirely frozen despite a cold December in Bend (3000ft lower in elevation). This suggests heavy lake output, a warmer than expected microclimate at the falls, or both.