Multiple. Likely ran prior to 2/17. Given southerly aspects off gnarl ridge/head of newton creek, good nightly refreezes, visible crowns a/o sidewalls and proximity immediately below cliffs/rock outcrops, guessing wet loose or rockfall/cornice-fall triggered cross-loaded windslabs
Signs of Unstable Snow
Newton Canyon exploratory ski tour via Pea Gravel Ridge departing TH 0915 and returning 1600. Had hoped to submit this observation yesterday, but the 2 bars of T-Mobile service I had for much of ATL Pea Gravel Ridge evaporated climbing out of Newton Canyon. Starting to regret switching from AT&T…
Weather conditions were mostly lovely for most of the day until sun fell below low-hanging clouds and winds picking up 3/330 (tho not nearly the 30-40mph I felt at the end of my 8K’ afternoon 1/16 Vista Ridge tour).
Thin Easterly-facing wind slabs definitely existed at alpine elevations below ridge lines (last photo where it reappeared on re-ascent was close to 200’ below it), but saw no shooting cracks and heard no whumphing all day long (but also didn’t test it via hard ski cuts when found the thin slab underfoot).
Finally, note that while the day was nice on most of the mountain, upper mountain was in a cloud all day long, possibly slowing any healing from prior day’s shallow wind-loading on applicable aspects/climbing routes (wy’east, west crater rim, etc)
Observed Avalanche Problem #1:
On descent into Newton Canyon from 7K’ off Pea Gravel Ridge, initially thought i felt something on first turn (but def unsure and maybe was over-sensing). Stopped and probed w pole finding pic labeled #1. Despite knowing things likely strengthened by then, loading I witnessed on on similar aspects/elevations prior day above Cascade lift caused me play it safe. So gently ski traverse-descended down canyon for less than a minute until found the more reassuring pole probe labeled #2. Also noted chunkiness on reascent to ridge so practiced cautious route-finding, but no other concerning observations