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Cloudy, heavy snow at times, avalanche conditions listed at moderate. Snowpack felt good, snow was amazing. Series a poor judgment in thicker trees on east facing slope resulted is a large slide. Make good choices people, we are better then this.
The rider that got caught was the second member of the group on the slope that failed. The other members of the group were off the slope and in a safe location when the slide occurred. The injured rider was buried up to their neck with just their head and arm exposed. The partially buried rider was injured but was able to ride out to the trailhead.
After completing a site visit and investigating the crown, we found buried surface hoar as the weak layer. This weak layer sits atop 4 inches of hard wind packed snow above the January 13th crust. The crown height averaged 2 to 3 feet thick and broke roughly 1000 feet wide. The debris terminated about 500 vertical feet below the crown. Slope angles averaged 35 to 40 degrees with some areas as low as 30 degrees. It happened on a treed slope that was Northeast facing at roughly 7000'. We performed an extended column test near the crown. Results were ECTN 24 down roughly 30 cm. We gave the block 3 extra taps from the shoulder and the layer of surface hoar failed and propagated across the column.
More details to come.
Forecast Hotline: 406.257.8402
Call or text an observation: 406.66AVYOB