Persistent Slab Problem near Gold Hill

Location Name: 
Gold Hill
Long Canyon Area
Date and time of observation: 
Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:30
Location Map: 
United States
36° 38' 0.5892" N, 105° 27' 7.0668" W

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

With another sunny, clear day we took advantage of the nice walking weather to get up high and look at the early season snowpack in the area around Gold Hill. The goal of the day was two-fold: check out the distribution of snow coverage, and test the relative strength of our shallow snowpack. On the ridgeline above Goose Lake at around 12000', snow coverage was patchy at best. Even on the northerly, shadier aspects that had been holding onto snow from previous storms, the snowpack depth ranged from 2' in wind loaded pockets to bare ground.

We have a persistent slab problem in the works. In the more shallow areas, isolated pockets of wind slab exist on top of cohesionless facets. In the "deeper" areas we have a weak "layer-cake" like structure containing multiple faceted layers. In our stability tests today, we were unable to initiate any propagation. But with snow in the forecast for Thursday and Sunday, this overall weak snowpack structure will require monitoring to determine specific areas of concern.


Picture 1: Variable distribution of snow coverage on northerly side of ridgeline.

Picture 2: Similar aspect/elevation. Two different snowpack stories.

Picture 3: View from 12000' looking back at William's Lake drainage and the Taos Ski Valley.

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Cloud Cover: 
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Wind Direction: