Catherine Crust

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Updated: Friday, Feb 2, 2018 5:34 PM
Posted: Monday, Jan 29, 2018 6:58 PM
Avalanche Red Flags
Wind   Rapid temperature rise  
Brian Sather*
Report Type:
Snow Conditions
I thumbed my nose at the day-late avalanche warning needlessly clogging up the notifications on my phone and charged around the Buck Creek area and up most of Mule Peak. The snow was soft and warm until I got to about 6,000' and then the breakable crust was rampant. Things appeared to stay below freezing above that point most of the day. The creeks weren't blowing out either, which is more evidence things are staying more stable at higher elevation today. I didn't see any signs of instability or recent avalanches up high. The wind was strong but there wasn't any free snow available for transport.

This is a complete absence of snow on the southern slopes and anything below 5,000' is very thin in the Catherine Area. On North Fork Rd, the I was thinking I'd have to drive a ways but just past the cattle guard there was just enough snow on the roads to make machine travel viable. I didn't hit any dirt, but there were a few rocks I found on the road under the snow, even up high. Somewhere in the mix I had to dodge a decapitated elk head but I didn't see any wildlife or humans anywhere, and there aren't really any tracks on the roads, but there are now!

Backcountry observations provided or vetted by trained avalanche professionals.
The Snow
New Snow
0 cm
Total Snow
95 cm
--° / --

Snow Depths
Location #1: Sand Pass Creek — 95 cm (map)
Location #2: The Meadow — 85 cm (map)
The Weather
Broken (5/8 - 7/8)
No Precipitation
Southeast at 17-25 mph
Sand Pass through the burnt trees
Lookout mountain in the distance.
Mule Peak
Nasty crusty skin track with Trout Creek Ridge in the backdrop
About the 6,000' line the surface turned to ice.