Forecaster Observation - Noisy Basin, Swan Range

Location Name: 
Forecaster Observation - Noisy Basin, Swan Range
Swan Range - West Side (Flathead Valley access)
Date and time of observation: 
Fri, 04/07/2017 - 12:00
Location Map: 

Red Flags: 
Recent avalanche activity
Obvious avalanche path

Observation made by: Forecaster
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Due to the condition of the Noisy Basin road we utilized the Switchback hiking trail to access the Noisy Basin area. Goals for the tour were to determine the near snow surface structure and recent avalanche activity. 

  • Below 4800' there was minimal to no snow along our route.
  • Between 4800' and 5600' there was a somewhat supportable surface crust in the morning which became unsupportable by the afternoon.
  • There was good corn skiing on a supportable crust between 5600' and 6600' in the afternoon.
  • A breakable surface crust existed above 6600' on westerly aspects due to the moderate to strong winds we observed above 6000'.
  • Our snowpit at 6800' on a northwest aspect revealed 23 cm of moist weak surface snow that sat atop a 30 cm thick Pencil hard melt-freeze crust. Below the crust sat a thick layer of strong snow. Pooling of water draining from the upper snowpack was observed at 110 cm below the surface at a thin crust. No results were observed in out stability tests.
  • Recent avalanche activity consisted of wet loose slides at upper elevations due to sunny warm conditions experienced on Tuesday April 4. We did notice a "fair amount" of older cornice debris that released on upper elevation easterly aspects. One of these triggered a thin wind slab avalanche. 
Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Moderate (Small trees sway)
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

A wild spring weather day with short periods of intense graupel, moderate to strong sustained winds along, generally a high level cloud deck and occasional periods of reduced visibility.