Gavilan Canyon

Location Name: 
Gavilan Canyon
Date and time of observation: 
Wed, 12/21/2016 - 10:57
Location Map: 
United States
36° 36' 51.6312" N, 105° 29' 45.4488" W

Red Flags: 
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
Rapid warming

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

Another beautiful day out there.  Today was much warmer with at 10,840' hitting a max temp today of 36 degrees F.  It felt much warmer in the sun with rollers on southerly aspect.  If you are new to touring and are getting out on warmer sunny days like this it is worth the minimal investment in Glob Stopper wax for your skins as you transition from sunny aspects with warmer wet snow to shady colder snow aspects your wet skins will pick up dry snow and make skinning up hill miserable.  

We went for a tour up Gavilan Canyon where travel down low was passable.  Not as much snow up top as I was expecting on Northerly Aspects (80cm to 100cm).  Most everything had run naturally on North and East Aspects.  Red River side had all naturalled on N - E aspects as well.  Only one big collapse in the Meadow at the top of Gavilan Canyon but the snowpack is starting to adjust.  Graupel Layer 20cm down from the top seems to pretty widespread but only reactive in specific areas.  Winds were moderate blowing in the 20's and Gusting in the 40's at ridgetops but no snow was available for transport where I was.  

Everything for the most part seems to have run and has about 20 cm of low density snow on it with a sun/ melt freeze crust / wind skin or just low density powder on it.  This will play a role in the in new snow/ old snow interface for this next potential storm Thursday afternoon. 

Photo 1:  NNE Aspect Pit Profile 11,545'.  Surprised at little snow there was there.  I was in an area that hadn't avalanched but everything around had.  

Photo 2: S Aspect Pit Profile 11,115'.  S aspect to show the difference between Northerly and Southerly snow pits.  We tend to focus on Northerly due to Faceting with Colder temps but it's interesting to compare the difference between the two pits at similar elevations.

Photo 3: Surface Hoar down low in the creek bed.  A lot of people love talking about surface hoar and we do see surface hoar here especially down in creek beds (more info) but we also tend to see a lot sun and winds that destroy or not allow surface hoar development. A beautiful crystal though!

Video 1: Explaining the NNE snowpit.   Poor overal snowpack structure where we have weak faceted snow over a slab (cohesive snow) that could become troublesome down the road in areas that haven't avalanched.

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
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