December 23

Dry Creek, Box Elder

Alpine to the north chutes on Box Elder

Elevation, slope angles and aspects:
5’000-10200, angles to 40°, east west and northeast.

Avalanche activity:
Old slide east facing off the lower Box Elder ridge into the Tibble fork drainage, Suface sluffing on 40°+. No other activity

Slopes skied:
Skier’s right north chute and west facing on the return to Alpine.

Snow surface and conditions:

There was an inch or two of new snow beginning at Alpine over a base of several inches. Up higher the recent snow total was 6-8, with all but the most recent recrystalizing. There was also surface hoar at the mid and lower elevations.

Hoar frost

surrface hoar frost on a branch

Rimed hoar frost

hoar frost cluster

Winds were blowing from the west at 10+ mph along the ridge and were moving a little snow. I found wind drifting only an inch or two deep along the tops of the ridges.

Mid elevation clouds and smog below. The upper elevations were partly cloudy with mild temperatures.

Snow pit:

A couple done. I found snow of about 3’ near the top of the north chutes. At the ridge that snow dwindled to less than a foot and below it was 2’ about the same as I found ascending the north facing ridge at 9k. Pole probing indicated 2’ was the representative total.

Faceted snow = stable snow. Surface sluffing was the only instability. Continued winds may produce enough drifting on easterly facing aspects to create a shallow but sensitive wind drift or two, especially at upper elevations. Significant snowfall would likely result in widespread avalanching on faceted snow layering.