- Observer: Brandon Levy
- Organization: Forecaster, CAIC
- BC Zone: Aspen
- Area Description: Independence Pass (4th of July Bowl area)
- Weather Description: Few clouds with light westerly winds and moderate gusts transitioned to broken skies with sustained moderate westerly wind by midday. Temperatures at 11000' reached 45F at 0900 and hovering near 60F by 1145
- Snowpack Description: Despite the second night in a row with above freezing temps recorded at 10600' Independence Pass Snotel, the snow surface was supportable to skis from 11000' to 12300' at 0900 in open areas with a clear sky view--this changed by 1145 with snow at 11000' feet becoming punchy and unsupportable. A profile on a north -acing slope at 12300' near the ridge revealed a fairly homogeneous snowpack with a ~4" thick surface crust overlying pencil hard rounds. There was no depth hoar observed aside from limited cavity hoar near the talus. There were dry-moist grains observed in the mid-pack and base of the snowpack. A layer of rounding facets down about 10-12" released in a CT test with sudden fracture character but didn't propagate with an ECT. There is a lot of dust visible on the snow on Independence Pass which will speed melt of the thin snowpack. This warm week has melted a lot of snow with creeks and ditches swelling. Wet slabs seem unlikely on this specific piece of north-facing terrain; however, field work in northeast-facing terrain across the road revealed somewhat troubling structure with multiple ice lenses and moist, rounding depth hoar. Significant meltwater production above 12,000' could release a wet slab in these locations. In adjacent zones wet slabs have occurred during this warm week and remain possible heading into the weekend.
- Avalanche Description: Observed two older crowns on the east side of Independence Mt., east of the Palisades. They looked too fresh to be from early April.
|| 2018/05/04 †
|| 2018/05/04 †
Figure 1: Grizzly Couloir with rollerballs and Loose Wet avalanche debris in the gut. 5.11.18
Figure 2: Dust on snow visible looking west toward Independence Mt. 5.11.18
Figure 3: Unsupportable snow at 11000' at 1145 near Independence Pass. 5.11.18
Figure 4: Older crowns visible near the Palisades on Independence Mt. ridgeline 5.11.18
Figure 5: Rounding faceted grains from the base of the snowpack at 12300' on a N facing slope. 5.11.18
Figure 6: Profile at 12300' on a N facing slope showing homogenous snow that is still only moist to dry. 5.11.18
Figure 7: Profile from November in similar location to today's profile