Columbine Drainage

Location Name: 
Columbine Drainage
Red River Area
Date and time of observation: 
Wed, 12/04/2019 - 11:07
Location Map: 
United States
36° 37' 20.4636" N, 105° 28' 10.0488" W

Red Flags: 
Obvious avalanche path

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

Went for a walk to the Columbine Drainage on the Red River side to see what was happening on the steep north facing ridgeline. As to be expected lots of naturals from the Friday evening/ early Saturday avalanche cycle were still visible.  The strong winds from the end of November have done a number on our snowpack stripping many slopes bare.  The deepest snowpacks can be found on East aspects that didn't run during the avalanche cycle (90 - 120 cm) . All other areas have a lot less snow 30 to 90 cm with the higher amounts found at higher elevations. We have a highly variable snowpack right now. 

Below Treeline we have a shallow snowpack (20 to 50cm) where solar aspects have crusts on them.  This snowpack is less supportable and quickly faceting. There are still many natural obstacles still visible.

Near Treeline we have a deeper snowpack (40 - 90 cm) with supportable slabs that make travel easier.  This snowpack is also faceting and poor snowpack structure can still be found on northerly slopes where October snow continues to linger.  We saw less avalanche activity on Near treeline north facing slopes.

Above Treeline we have hard slabs or a series of hard slabs from 3 wind events at the end of November.  We were finding faceting above and below these hard slabs with Q2 shears during stability tests.  North facing slopes that ran during the avalanche cycle have a shallow snowpack that is quickly faceting. 

New snow that is expected to fall overnight will fall on a variety of surfaces from crusts on solar aspects to near surface facets on North and East aspects to hard slabs above treeline and in areas that are exposed to wind. 

Photo 1: Old crown from the 11/29 - 11/30 event on a steep north aspect that ran on the old October snow on the ground

Photo 2:  NE facing slope that ran during the avalanche event and is faceting out quickly in the shallow snowpack

Photo 3:  An E aspect that didn't have October snow lingering on the ground.  A couple of different layers of wind slabs, that have faceting above and below them.  

Photo 4: A deeper snowpack on a NNE that did not run during the avalanche cycle.   The faceted October snow is just above the ground.

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

A humid cloud was over us all day.  A couple of snowflakes in the morning that didn't amount to any amounts.  Moderate west winds at ridgetops but no snow was transporting.