Date: December 16, 2017
The past week has dramatically changed conditions, bringing significant snow and plenty of wind to move it around. Many of our avalanche paths have transitioned from a mess of ice and rock to full snow coverage. Wind approaching 100 mph earlier in the week has left firm and stubborn wind slab in most of these areas. This slab, and pockets of softer snow, lie above a varied surface of snow, ice, rock, and vegetation. If you’re digging into the snow today, remember that the variable nature of our snowpack will limit your ability generalize observations across the terrain. One pit might reveal new wind slab on bushes, while another might show the same slab on a smooth bed surface. As mentioned above, remember that many of our avalanche paths are just barely developed, and rocky consequences of a fall or avalanche capture are present in many locations. It’s still early season snow coverage.