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Spring Snowpack Observations Thread

Info, conditions and gear related to skiing or riding Colorado Peaks, including the 14ers! Ski/Ride Trip Reports
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Re: Spring Snowpack Observations Thread

Postby viejo » Fri May 13, 2011 7:54 am

On May 7th the trough was well filled in and fairly well consolidated. Continuous line from it's base to the exit, including the lower headwall. As I'm sure you've heard there's been additional snowfall since then.

Too soon to tell you avalanche propensity for next week. Absent another large snowfall, I would believe that the trough might be fairly stable. However, the only judgement valid for this assessment will be yours.

Last Saturday the narrows were a mix, but mostly rock. The home stretch was also spotty. Again, recent snows may have changed that.

Approach was snow pretty much all the way from the parking lot. Track got somewhat sloppy on the return in the afternoon sun.

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Re: Spring Snowpack Observations Thread

Postby tmathews » Fri May 13, 2011 10:34 am

tmathews wrote:Statewide overall basin snowpack is now over 1.5x of average after this last round of snow. Still below average in the San Juans and Rio Grande side of the Sangres.

ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/CO/Snow/snow/watershed/daily/co_update_snow.pdf


Statewide Snowpack is up to 160%. Even the Rio Grande Basin edged closer to 100%. San Juans are over 100% now. The Yampa/White River and North Platte Basins are just insane.

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Re: Spring Snowpack Observations Thread

Postby Rich H » Fri May 13, 2011 3:26 pm

the following is from Charlie Thorn who does a pretty good job of tracking snowpack in Silverton for the Hardrock 100 - 2002 the Hardrock was cancelled do to fires...and in 1995 the race was cancelled do to snow.

Hardrockers,

The Silverton snow report as of the start of May 1st is below. March
and April have been wetter than normal and the current snow pack (per
SNOTEL gauges) is roughly 15% greater than average for this time of
the spring. The last week of April was very cold in the San Juans
with little melt; however, the climate models continue to predict
warmer than normal temperatures into the summer.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in the Mountains this summer.

Unofficial Seasonal Snowfall in Inches
Silverton, CO, Elevation 9320
Year Dec1 Jan1 Feb1 Mar1 Apr1 May1 Jun1
91-92 51.75 66.25 76.25 91.25 124.75 131.25 131.25
92-93 39.5 64 140 228 249 265 272.5
93-94 22 34 44.5 80 89 128.5 130.5
94-95 71 85.5 115 147 207.5 224 242.5
95-96 21 34 77 105.5 121 133 133
96-97 48.5 78 132.5 153 160 178 179
97-98 30 49 71.5 84.5 125 144.5 150
98-99 46.1 62 89.6 102.4 114.2 159 190.4
99-00 3.0 18.1 42.5 83.2 152.4 165.5 165.5
00-01 32.8 51.5 79.4 114.0 137.3 169.3 184.6
01-02 20.4 42.5 48.2 66.4 72.5 75.7 75.7
02-03 46.7 65.2 86.4 110.6 128.6 138.9 142.7
03-04 31 60 95.9 140.9 154.6 183.2 185.6
04-05 34.7 45.3 114.9 153.6 177.6 194.7 196.2
05-06 17.7 30.6 41.6 65.5 114.4 missing missing
06-07 51.9 71.5 84.9 107.5 123.1 147.8 162.4
07-08 17.7 78.2 166.9 209.3 221 232.8 246
08-09 28.8 86.9 106.3 120.8 132.7 155 155
09-10 NA 50.2 91.4 122.7 143.4 160.1 166.2
10-11 22.6 78.5 91.9 132.0 152.5 185.8

Past years'
averages = 35.4 55.5 89.7 120.3 144.6 157.2 163.6

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Re: Spring Snowpack Observations Thread

Postby San Juan Ron » Fri May 13, 2011 5:21 pm

Red Mountain Pass has the most snow at this time of the year since the mid 90's while Slumgullion Pass has the 2nd most since 2000. There is a lot of snow in the northern San Juans. Very little snow melt / runoff. SJ Ron

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Re: Spring Snowpack Observations Thread

Postby d_baker » Fri May 13, 2011 7:51 pm

Carl wrote:
Snowgirl wrote:If anyone has information on whether or not the Crestones got any snow this week in this round of storms, could you post an update? We were hoping to hit some ski descents if any new snow fell, otherwise it would be a bit bare.


Based on Bill's recent photo of Crestone Peak on the conditions page I'd say it looks promising for a ski descent. Appears to be more snow covered than a month ago when we hit it. Needle wasn't skiable then but now Humbolt and Lindsey appear to be and they were bare last month. If anyone goes I'd love to hear about conditions on the Needle. I'm thinking it might be in with all this recent snow.

From a TR on 14erW, the Needle was climbed on the 7th, E gulley, good kick stepping all the way to the summit. Reported that there's a thin spot near a v-slot, near the summit, sounds like the convergence area of the E and W gullies.
With the latest storm, I would imagine it's filled in a bit more.

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Re: Spring Snowpack Observations Thread

Postby Mark A Steiner » Sat May 14, 2011 9:49 am

San Juan snow is a fascinating topic by itself. Going back further in time, I visited Animas Forks June 1975 and spent two nights in Silverton June 11-12. Road was open to Animas Forks, but a grader was parked and inoperative between AF and Cinnamon Pass. Just a less determined effort to get the pass open that year, poorer snow removal technology, or just too much snow?

I would choose the latter. Bare rock exposures anywhere in the area or Animas Forks, including Niagara and Jones Peaks was 10% at best. I have archived slides from that year, but nothing I can share at this time.

Also, Blue Mesa Reservoir along Gunnison River was already at maximum pool elevation, with all that snow still to melt.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content - Paul the Apostle.
Good day.

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Re: Spring Snowpack Observations Thread

Postby jdbrown » Sat May 14, 2011 10:23 am

Does anybody know anything about the snow conditions on North Maroon Peak? I would like to ski that one sometime this spring and was hoping for some insight on when it would be prime for stability and skiability. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Re: Spring Snowpack Observations Thread

Postby luckyzsquirrel » Sun May 15, 2011 9:15 pm

Today (May 15th) climbed Spread Eagle and its unnamed neighbor to the west (both are almost due west of Westcliffe, not that far north of the crestones). There was a bit of wet snow Saturday night. At the trailhead there was very little snow, but there was a lot from 10k up to treeline (at least back in the trees). About 3' deep on average I'd guess, with 5' drifts and some snow barren patches mixed in.

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Re: Spring Snowpack Observations Thread

Postby Carl » Sun May 15, 2011 9:31 pm

jdbrown wrote:Does anybody know anything about the snow conditions on North Maroon Peak? I would like to ski that one sometime this spring and was hoping for some insight on when it would be prime for stability and skiability. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Coverage on North Maroon Peak looked great for a ski descent today. I can't speak to the snowpack stability on that particular peak but it sure feels like spring in the area. There was a huge wet slide cycle recently. Every avy path we saw in East Maroon Creek and West Maroon Creek appeared to have run. A good reminder to start early.
Image

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Re: Spring Snowpack Observations Thread

Postby tmathews » Mon May 16, 2011 11:58 am

ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/CO/Snow/snow/watershed/daily/co_update_snow.pdf[/quote]

Stop the insanity. Over the weekend, the statewide snowpack continued to go up. We're now sitting at 165% according to today's update. The Yampa/White and Colorado River Basins are nine points shy of 200%. Be careful out there.

Re: Spring Snowpack Observations Thread

Postby mtnfiend » Mon May 16, 2011 12:44 pm

tmathews wrote:Stop the insanity. Over the weekend, the statewide snowpack continued to go up. We're now sitting at 165% according to today's update. The Yampa/White and Colorado River Basins are nine points shy of 200%. Be careful out there.


I think the intent of the OP was to communicate snow stability, not necessarily how much snow the state has received.....but I have been wrong before. :roll:
Didn't I ever tell you.....Bumble's bounce!!!

Re: Spring Snowpack Observations Thread

Postby Nelson » Mon May 16, 2011 12:49 pm

One thing we do have in Colorado is a great avalanche information center. They are smart, educated, experienced and they spend all their time thinking about this stuff. I would like to put a couple of quotes from their most recent report:

"Winds slabs from Wednesday's storm have stabilized quickly with the warm temperatures and sunshine today. The main concern will shift again to wet slide activity for Saturday. Snowfall Saturday afternoon and into Sunday morning will add another surface layer to be aware of. Warm temperatures on Sunday and Monday will again bring wet activity to the forefront. Predicting exactly when and where slides might occur is tricky, but the big picture is clear: 1) There is still a LOT of snow out there. 2) Given that's it's already mid-May the chances of a rapid warm up are likely, and 3) should avalanches release they have the potential to be larger than we've seen in decades. Give yourself an extra margin of safety over the next few days. Areas that may normally be safe from avalanches may not be this spring.
There are monster cornices in nearly all of Colorado's mountains. They are taller and wider than we've seen in a while, and when they fail are producing blocks the size of vans or even bigger. Should they collapse, they are a hazard all by themselves, and also as potential triggers for slab avalanches. Be cautious approaching them and traveling under them. Considering avoid these behemoths altogether."

" If you start punching past boot top or see big roller balls developing, it's time to move to colder snow or head out."

Use the website (http://avalanche.state.co.us) before you go out.

Be safe.

Nelson

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