Observation: Douglas Island

Location: Wedding Bowl

Route & General Observations

Standard uptrack to Wedding Bowl to investigate the 11/13 avalanche. We then used careful route finding to ascend Ben Stewart, and essentially reverse our skin track back to the car.

Overall we found no obvious signs of instability on today’s tour. However, in our snowpits, we observed weak snow above and below an ice crust ~50-60cm down. Our best guess is this “super crust” was formed on Nov 1, and we have named it accordingly. Our tests determined the weak layer from the 11/13 avalanche is a thin layer (~1cm thick) of 1mm facets above the Nov 1 ice crust.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Observer Comments

It's worth noting that we observed one or two minor collapses under our skis today; however, it was difficult to determine whether this was the result of a collapsing weak layer, or hollow snow failing over bured trees or rocks in our thin, early season snowpack.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

Wedding Bowl, 12:45 pm, 2920', North Aspect
Air temp: -7c
Light north winds
Sky: few clouds
No precip

Snow surface

surface temp: -9c. Primarily decomposing stellars.


See images for detailed snowpit data (Thanks to Peter for snowpilot work!). Snowpack obs generally characterized by 50-60cm of decomposing particles, and rounded grains above an ice crust (Nov 1 crust). **We observed a thin layer (~1cm) of 1mm faceted grains both above and below the Nov 1 crust in our snowpits.** We determined this was the weak layer in the 11/13 avalanche in Wedding bowl, and not buried surface hoar which was previously considered a possibility. The lower snowpack can be characterized by melt freeze forms below the Nov 1 crust down to the ground. This structure appears to be widespread at and above treeline.

Photos & Video
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