Toured up the southwest ridge of Running Rabbit Mountain to the Shed 11 weather station at 6300 feet (‘) and descended same route.
Objectives were to observe recent avalanche activity, wind and storm slab formation at all elevations, and do a welfare check on the Shed 11 weather station.
No recent avalanche activity observed but evidence of previous avalanche activity was evident on south/ south easterly aspects above 6000’ elevation.It did appear the Shed 11 path ran within the past few days.Also, other southerly facing terrain adjacent to the SW ridge of Running Rabbit appears to have released naturally as a small soft slab avalanche (D1.5)
We did conduct several ski cuts and cornice drops above 5600’ that resulted in shooting cracks and a small slab that arrested on tree anchors below the fracture initiation elevation.The area that fractured was at approximately 5800’ elevation, a westerly aspect, and the area affected was very small in size.
No other avalanche activity was observed.
Below ~6000’ elevation the snowpack has been accumulating snow depth due to new snowfall and wind loading from the east.
Above 6000’ new snowfall and wind loading from the west has been contributing to increased snow depth.
As such leeward aspects (westerly) below 6000’ elevation have been, and continue to be, actively loaded and cross-loaded from moderate easterly winds.
Terrain features in JFS Canyon below 5000’ exhibited enhanced cross-loading on westerly facing aspects.
Below ~5600, moderate easterly winds, light to moderate snowfall, wind-transported snow, and air temperatures below zero (F).
Above ~5600’ light westerly winds, light snowfall, and air temperatures in the single to double digits (10-12F)
To re-iterate, active wind loading and cross loading was occurring on westerly aspects below ~5600’ elevation.This was particularly evident in the JFS Canyon Program Area below 5000’ and between the Bear Creek and Devil Creek drainages.
Total snowfall accumulation today while in the field was approximately two inches (2”).
Very faint signs of a previous avalanche in the gut of Shed 11 right below the weather station. Details provided are very rough estimates. But make out old chunks of slab and saw other clues like bent over trees, slight gulley in the track and debris on uphill side of trees. Think this thing ran Saturday night, 11th but really not sure. Visibility was very limited from the Canyon floor all weekend and this week.
Small slope just off the SW ridge of Running Rabbit. Again thinking this ran Saturday night and was able to piece together size by looking at old debris piles below and piled up on uphill sides of trees. Was able to investigate a section of the crown that wasn't buried. Appeared failure layer was the New Year's buried NSF layer.
Forecast Hotline: 406.257.8402
Call or text an observation: 406.66AVYOB