BC Zone Observation Report
Friday, November 22, 2019 at 12:00 AM
At the trailhead (10,400ft) was snowing moderately with light easterly winds. At treeline on Jones Pass Road was still snowing light/moderately, with light southwesterly winds. Near the top of Jones Pass road : 12,450ft (where the avalanche occurred) the visibility dropped to near 0 miles and the wind picked up from the west / northwest, sustained at 20mph, gusting to 40mph.
Observed 8-10" of fluffy, relatively dry snow from the trail head to treeline. At treeline 6-10" of snow in spots, a bit wind affected in spots but not reactive From treeline half way up Jones Pass road, noticed some wind-slab development but was not reactive. Near top of Jones Pass road 12,450ft (where the avalanche occurred), right near where the road meets a corniced ridge at the top, the snow become very reactive. Part of the issue was that the road right near the top of the pass (last 1/4 mile to the top) was completely drifted over and basically the road disappeared. A big wind-slab sitting over the road just below the cornice near the top was the problem...avalanche broke right on this slope
I was in the lead skinning with another partner. As I neared the very top of Jones Pass a wind-slab avalanche broke all-around me. I was caught immediately and deployed my airbag. The slide only propagated about 50-60ft down the slope before stopping. Was buried up to my waist with air-bag deployed and was able to self extract and carefully move back towards my partner. The slide crown was approximately 2ft and the avalanche could have easily buried someone if it had propagated down the slope and picked up speed (had some big blocks in it). I was not able to get any photos.