January 16, 2021
January 16, 2021
Zone or Region:
White Pass Backcountry
Did you observe any avalanches? Yes
Size 2: Could bury, injure, or kill a person
I counted at least a dozen slab avalanches from the Atomspheric River event this past week. Debris from these natural slides can be hidden by a few inches of snow. Notable Avalanches: Hogback Mt Area: First Bowl, At least one D1.5 Second Bowl, At least 3 slides up to D2. Third Bowl, at least 3 slides up to D2. Lower Bench down to Miriam Lake Area: at least 6 slabs up to D1.5. Gunsight Peak and Bowl Area: Hard to say a number but lots of shallowly buried debris.
With excellent visibility, I was able to see several Very Large (D3+) avalanches on Mt Rainier. These appeared to have originated from around 8000' on E aspects near Cowlitz Rocks and the Cowlitz Glacier (see photo)
Terrain: I traveled from the ski area out to the top of Hogback Mountain then out towards Shoe Lake, before returning to the resort below Gunsight Bowl. While I traveled mostly near treeline, I had excellent views into the surrounding mountains in the Goat Rocks and even to Mt Rainier.
Snowpack: 1-2" (2-4cm) of recent snow was wind redistributed over a very stout and icy surface crust. The upper crust was around 6" (15cm) thick on most slopes and very supportable. The upper snowpack consists of alternating layers of strong rounded grains, refereeing melt forms, and various crusts creating a very stable snowpack. Vertical percolation tubes can be found between crust, creating a "rebar" like structure within the upper 3 feet (90cm) of snow.
Numerous small rollerballs occurred on SE-SW slopes with sunshine and warmer temperatures today, but I did not see any new loose wet avalanches.
Weather: Scattered high thin clouds. Warm with temperatures above 32F. Light W winds. No blowing snow and no precipiation.