Another Big Avalanche Across Leavitt Lake Rd

Location Name: 
Leavitt Lake Rd
Region: 
BWRA
Date and time of avalanche (best estimate if unknown): 
Mon, 02/20/2017 - 17:28
Location Map: 


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

Observation made by: Professional Observer
Avalanche Observations
Avalanche Type: 
Wet
Slab
Slope: 
38degrees
Trigger type: 
Natural
Crown Height: 
6 ft
Aspect: 
Southeast
Weak Layer: 
Storm Snow
Avalanche Width: 
300ft.
Terrain: 
Above Treeline
Elevation: 
8 700ft.
Bed Surface: 
Storm Snow
Avalanche Length: 
1 600ft.
Number of similar avalanches: 
4
Number of people caught: 
0
Did the avalanche hit a building, vehicle, or structure?: 
No
More detailed information about the avalanche: 

So you must use your imagination on some of these photos. The first four photos are of another historic Avalanche above the roadway to Leavitt Lake. As predicted the more dense, wetter snow that fell on top of unconsolidated powder was the culprit of this instability. Rapid precipitation that lingered during this recent storm totaled around three feet intermixed with rain & winds over 100 mph. This is the recipe for avalanches people, not the first time this season we've seen it. This Avalanche destroyed a grove of trees, crossed the road & went up the opposing valley over 50'. The MWTC has not been able to get the groomers through this area but the debris has piled so high that the once many depressions are now a buffeted, featureless surface. I dug a pit Monday before I reached this slide-path & got a bad feeling about the conditions so made a retreat, probably the right call.... Trust your internal uneasiness, it is always the right decision to come back when the conditions permit.

The next two photos are of a very steep slope that descends towards Leavitt Meadow. This is a good indicator slope. It can be seen as you climb above the pack station on Hwy 108 to the Southeast. From a distance it appears that this was of similar type to the fore mentioned Avalanche. Similar aspect, elevation but much steeper than its buddy a valley away. Look for these similarities when making decisions to climb, highmark, or ride under an exposed face. Please make good choices out there in the backcountry & make it home safe.

 

Avalanche Photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Yes
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Gale Force
Precipitation: 
Mixed rain and snow
Air temperature trend: 
Cooling
Wind Direction: 
East
Accumulation rate: 
Greater than 1 in. per hour