Pit in ravine floor and skiing the little headwall

February 10, 2021 at 1:00 PM
Name: Eric Heiman
Location: Floor of ravine and little headwall

I went for a short solo tour to get a look at the ravine (didn’t happen due to very poor visibility), investigate the snowpack, and to get a few powdery turns in. I dug my pit just upslope of the large rock that sits towards the end of the skintrack before the terrain opens up. Due to time and equipment constraints I opted to simply due a CT rather than a full ECT. It was difficult to observe cracks due to weather conditions and being by myself, so I was not able to pinpoint any cracking to a particular hit. After finishing all 30 hits, I began to manipulate the column to see if there were any propagations that my eye did not notice. I first pulled out a relatively clean slab that consisted of the first 6 in of snow. After pulling this slab, I gave the column a couple more hits and again pulled off another slab, but this one was cleaner and larger (~10 in.). I continued the process and pulled off 2 more slabs, the last went to the bottom of the column and was roughly 2 feet deep. My pit was about 130 cm of depth and the snow was rather consistent besides slight changes between finger+ and pencil. Each slab I pulled propagated at the density changes.

I then proceeded to ski down the little headwall. On two occasions where I skied over short but steep rollovers I experienced small but clear wind slab releases. The snow was dense and energetic. I suspect similar conditions existed up high and would expect to see D1 to D2 size avalanches.