South Face in the Alpine

Location Name: 
Shoulder of Lake Fork Peak
Region: 
Williams Lake Area
Date and time of observation: 
Fri, 02/10/2017 - 12:52
Location Map: 
United States
36° 33' 20.7756" N, 105° 26' 33.2952" W
US


Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
Rapid warming
Obvious avalanche path

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

My partner and I toured up onto a South aspect above 12,000ft on a shoulder of Lake Fork Peak today (friday).  Temps were in the high 30s to mid 40s and the wind was howling out of all directions over the course of our ascent.  These winds were actively building gummy ridgetop windslabs, although we were not able to initiate failure or propagation in our stability tests on this particular solar aspect.  The cool winds were enough to prevent widespread wet loose avalanche activity in the alpine, but we did see some at lower elevations (see pic below from roadside low elevation N aspect wet loose slide).  The skiing was not bad, but we both thought that if we had waited any longer to descend, it would've been mashed potatoes (we descended about 12:30).  Shady slopes at mid elevations were holding soft snow, but everything at low elevations was feeling the effects of the April-like temps.

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Yes
Cloud Cover: 
Clear
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Strong
Precipitation: 
None
Air temperature trend: 
Warming