Observation November 21 (Sunday)
Went up to Point Supreme with the idea of skiing something in the Catherines Pass Area. In the Grizzly Gulch parking lot the winds were blowing around 20mph with gusts of 40mph. There was about a foot of new snow on the summer road increasing to about 3 feet at the top of Point Supreme. We dug a snowpit near the Catherines/Dry Fork ridgeline and found the snowpack depth to be over 6 feet deep. All day long the weather pattern was the same...a huge gust of wind, followed by a grauple shower, then a burst of powdery snow, adding another foot of superman snow by 4pm.
While skiing back to the car I skied beyond the summer trail and ended up above some small cliffs, near the homes by the Albion Campground. Seeing how rocky and crossloaded the cliff bands were, I told my partner to go the other way where it was much more safer. Thinking I could find a safe way down of my own, I continued to traverse in the opposite direction. Finally after tons of effort I found a narrow chute that was crossloading. With predictable results I pulled off a ski cut and just as I made it to my safe spot the entire chute released. This avalanche occured on a west facing slope around 9,600 feet. The slide itself averaged 1 foot deep at the crown and 2 feet deep along the crossloaded section of the chute, all running on a burried suncrust. Thankfully I was only on a large test slope and the avalanche traveled less than 80 feet. Had this senario occured on the much larger and avalanche prone West Face of Mt Wolverine the results could have been much more different. Overall I would say that there some pockets of CONSIDERABLE out there on West facing, crossloaded terrain above 9,500 feet.
The 1st picture is of Troy skiing the deepest powder so far this year