Professional Observation - Paola Ridge

Location Name: 
Professional Observation - Paola Ridge, Flathead Range
Flathead Range - Middle Fork Corridor
Date and time of observation: 
Sat, 03/12/2016 - 12:00
Location Map: 

Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
Obvious avalanche path

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

Starting from the highway the snow was supportable with an inch of corn snow on top.  It was raining when we left the pick-up, but had tapered off as the day went on.  The travel on the ridgetop was still relatively easy, but starting to get sticky in places.

We were able to find buried surface hoar near the top of ridge at 7000 ft on a Northwest slope.  It was buried 35 cm down and was unreactive in our Extended Column Test. It did, however, fail easily during a Compression Test (CT 6).  The surface hoar was small in size(1-2 mm) and seemed to be decomposing.  While it didn't propogate in our test the slab that had formed above the surface hoar was enough to cause unease in our group and convince us to ski the ridgeline into the drainage.

Through the clouds we could see the upper elevation snowpack and from a distance it looked like it had rained to the tops of the mountains.  We did not see any recent avalanches, but there were pinwheels everywhere.  The riding back down the drainage was a mix of slow sticky snow and zipper fast corn.  The one diamond of the day though was it was snowing hard as we skiied down!

Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Light (Twigs in motion)
Mixed rain and snow
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
Precip Rate: 
RL; light rain, up to 2.5mm of water/hour