Patrick Gephart

Freelance Web Engineer | Alpine Enthusiast

Category: Snow Observations

Tenmile Range Snow Observations 1/16/17

Jeff Kepler and I did a short tour up Spruce Creek and rode some fun terrain below Mt. Helen. I dug a snow pit on a E/NE aspect, 11,400 ft, with a slope angle of 35 degrees around 2:40 PM. Deep persistent weak layers were evident but hard to trigger, although in areas that have a shallower snowpack this could change quickly. Some surface instabilities were encountered as well.

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Pennsylvania Gulch Snow Observations 1/8/17

I did a quick tour to examine the current snowpack around Blue River, CO after receiving a large amount of snow in the past week. A new storm cycle was rolling in as I left my car around 1:00 PM. I didn’t notice any cracking or whumpfing as I skinned up to where I dug my pit. I stuck to some low angle, ~25 degree, slopes to ride.

Below is the graph of my pit including the different layers, temperature profile, and stability tests.


SE Gore Range Snow Observations 12/19/16

Snow observations from the SE Gore Range, Summit County:

The overall depth of snow has really increased in the past week. I performed a quick snow profile on a SE face, slope angle of 32 degrees, below treeline, at an elevation of 11,000 ft. around 10:50 AM. No wind loading was evident in this area although wind loading is prevalent above treeline and would most likely hold a different looking snow pack than what was observed here.

The average depth of the snow pack in this area was 100-110 cm. From the ground to a depth of 20 cm a 4 finger hard depth of hoar with 2-3 mm facets exists. From 20 cm to 60 cm a 1 finger hard slab was observed, with a 1 finger hard slab above it to 80 cm. Above 80 cm to the snow surface a first hard slab exists which contains the snow from the previous storm cycle.

The stability test results were CT 22 Q3 at 80 cm and CT 19 Q2 at 20 cm.

Breckenridge Front Range Snow Observations 12/5/16

Snowpack observations from today, 12/5, from the Front Range area near Breckenridge, Summit County:

The snowpack is finally starting to get a bit deeper around here but is holding more problematic layers. After skinning to the top of our objective I performed a quick snow profile at 3:00 PM on a NE facing slope around 11,700 ft. The slope angle was 34 degrees.

The snowpack was wind loaded in this area and the average snow depth was 60 to 65 cm. From the ground to a height of 15 cm a depth hoar is becoming well formed with facets from 3-4 mm in size. From 15 cm to 30 cm a layer of 2-3 mm facets with a bit more consolidation was observed. From 30 cm to 45 cm a fist hard slab exists which appears to be from the previous storm cycle. At 45 cm a 1-2 cm crust layer was observed with a first hard slab of soft snow from our current storm cycle above it to the surface. Faceting is occurring above and below this crust layer.

Pit results were CT7 Q2 at 45 cm, CT10 Q2 at 15 cm, and ECTP12 Q2 at 15 cm.

Snow is continuing to come down so it will be interesting to see how this will affect our current snowpack.

Mayflower Gulch Snow Observations 11/29/16

Some observations from yesterday, 11/29, Mayflower Gulch, Tenmile Range, Summit County:

Skinning up to and above treeline no significant whumpfing or cracking was observed, even in windloaded areas.

A snow profile performed on a NE aspect at treeline, 11,800 ft, with a slope angle of 27 degrees, at 2:22 PM revealed the following observations:

The average snow depth was 40 to 45 cm. From the ground to a depth of 6 cm unconsolidated facets of 1 – 2 mm were observed. Above 6 cm to 24 cm the facets were about the same but slightly more consolidated. At a depth of 24 cm a 2 cm crust layer exists, most likely a result from being the surface layer before the last storm cycle began. Faceting is evident both above and below this crust layer. Above 24 cm to the snow surface exists a fist hard slab containing all of the snow from our current storm cycle.

Pit results were CT11 Q2 and ECTN12 Q2 on the crust layer at 24 cm.

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