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Location (general area)
Wright Mountain - San Gabriel Mountains
Road conditions to area
Obscured (fog or base layer prevents view of sky)
Moderate (17-25mph Small trees sway/ flags stretched)
Wind direction in degrees
Aspect in degrees
Boot/ Ski penetration
Activity, recent avalanches
1.5ft of new snow in the past 48hrs
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks. collapsing
Obvious avalanche path
Toured up the acorn trail to the top of the Wright mountain slide path with the intention of gaining more information about the recent snowfall, and hoping for some good turns. There were some signs of localized surface wind slabs on the tour up on the lee of the ridge and other terrain features. I got some small pockets to move in the first 15 cm of the snowpack, but nothing more than a ski length. I observed no other signs of instability other than than the recent loading from the storm.
At the top of the north slide path, I saw some cornicing on north east aspects, and was able to drop some chunks of cornice with no result from a few good kicks. I planned to dig a snow pit on the upper section of the bowl to see how the new snow was bonding to the old surface layer. As I stepped down onto the slope, I gave some good hard jumps on a slight convexity at the top. On the 3rd or 4th jump, the entire soft slab of new snow gave way to a D2R3 avalanche that broke at my feet. The crown was approximately 250ft wide and ran 200 vertical feet down to the bench.
Observing the crown, I found a slab depth of about 55cm. This consisted of 15cm of wind deposited (4f) on top of 40cm of unconsolidated (fist hard) storm slab. All of this rested on a knife hard rain crust bed surface from our last storm which was quite warm. Apparently the new snow has NOT been bonding well, and will likely need a few warm days to get it to stick.
I rode back down the acorn trail ridge and scored some of the best turns I’ve ever had in that area.
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