Taos Region

Moderators: scotthsu, Bob, Matt, mark

sody
Posts: 65
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:23 pm

Re: Taos Region

Post by sody »

JBella wrote: Fri Jan 01, 2021 9:26 am I know that slope, check out the TAC observation from December 29th, second picture, titled https://taosavalanchecenter.org/pro-obs ... -treeline/
Ah, yep. that was it. I followed their skin track. Was wondering if they were just investigating or triggered the slide. It looked newer to me compared to the other slides.
Marc
Posts: 74
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:57 am
Location: New Mexico
Contact:

Re: Taos Region

Post by Marc »

There's a LOT of variability out there. Pit results showing mostly BRK or PC results on all aspects BTL/TL. West exposed aspects looks like some of the more sporadic areas of the reported NE-SE aspects with a wind affected layer that you'd need a chainsaw to get through. It would take a Gas-X to break through this layer to set it free. Some areas coming out of the alpine terrain on East aspects have provided some great cross loaded slopes that have settled out to yield some fantastic recycled powder.

Some collapsing on open meadows and talus fields on flat terrain noted. It's clear that there was a cycle of tenderness after the previous storm cycle, but time has seemed to heal up whatever didn't run naturally from secondary wind loading. Speaking of recycled pow, the faceting effect is clear in the midpack as the temp gradients are cannibalizing old MF crusts. This is where most test results were obtained at approx 30-40cm down with CTs @ BTL/TL, but got zero positive ECTs or PSTs anywhere on any aspect or elevation. No new avalanche activity noted over the past 6 days in the field in the Wheeler Peak district. Didn't see any HS >1m anywhere, but mostly in the 70-90cm range, unless it was on the scoured areas ATL.

Although the "warming trend" that has been present lately has not affected the SPX significantly enough to see Spring-like transformations on most south slopes, the solar gain is speckling the area around Taos with another round of MFC. The moderate winds that have occurred over an extended period have not developed major wind loading on lee and cross-loaded slopes as there's nothing left in the fetch to create high concern for the usual deposition zones. Crossing our toes for a storm cycle this weekend that is projected to extend down to the Southern mountains of NM, and should bring some much needed precip. This is the same storm that has caused havoc in the PNW and is making its way across the Intermountain Region in the next few days. So, we'll see how whatever precip we're given will bond and behave.

The spatial variability is as broad as I've seen it. I'm also seeing lots of BC travelers, COVID appropriate with masks and with their skiing risk acceptance. Great job out there! Good to see some younger jibbers having fun in the cirques as well.
Attachments
Taos BC pow.jpg
Taos BC pow.jpg (347.99 KiB) Viewed 786 times
Marc
Posts: 74
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:57 am
Location: New Mexico
Contact:

Re: Taos Region

Post by Marc »

It’s been rather boring in the snow pits, so getting mileage in Has been more of the priority. The only thing that’s of clinical interest is the fact that the cold temperature regime continues to drive the faceting process and cannibalizing older non-persistent grains.

Fist hardness of >50 cm in most locations will likely become the new layer of interest once the new snow comes...whenever La Niña decides to give up a little precip.

Skied Peace Sign, and it was very supportive with a ampho-resistant slab persisting. Some cross loading in the upper bowls.

Biggest hazard right now is submerged obstacles especially in the trees BTL, non-hero breakable crusts, barbed wire fences/T-posts, and other fast luge riders.
Attachments
00983B8F-1055-4622-81C2-FAAAE12EBDFD.jpeg
00983B8F-1055-4622-81C2-FAAAE12EBDFD.jpeg (2.91 MiB) Viewed 734 times
sody
Posts: 65
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:23 pm

Re: Taos Region

Post by sody »

The recent storm seems to have treated Williams lake cirque nicely. Skied today on skiers right in the trees of Sin Nombres North facing avalanche path. Was quite warm, and the snow was on the denser side. Surprisingly not a lot of people in the parking lot or on the trail for such a nice treat of fresh snow.

On the trail, there was maybe 3-5 cm of fresh snow. Trail braking was not that hard. That changed reaching the lake and beyond. Between 20cm and 60 cm penetration. By the time we skied out parts of the skin track on the lake was blown over and fully buried. Definitely lots of wind transport up high all day. So loading of slopes is happening,

We dough one pit, at 3500 meters NT, north aspect at noon. Slope angle was shallow. 25 degrees. Found a snow depth of 165cm. The recent storm including wind transported resulted in a 55cm fresh snow layer that was on the stiffer fist strength. Followed by a equally thick layer of 50-55 cm 5 finger layer. We could make out two more layers. one 25 cm, that was only penetrable with a knife and 30 cm of facets at the bottom. A quick CT 15 resulted in a failure at the 2nd and 3rd interface. It seems that the new snow has somewhat bonded to the last week layer in that spot.

Other than that, enjoyable powder day in the trees.
sody
Posts: 65
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:23 pm

Re: Taos Region

Post by sody »

Went into Williams lake cirque Friday and Saturday. Both days, wide spread whoomphing on steep, open west facing aspects. Observed one myself, similar report from people I talked too.

On Saturday, lots of wind, initially W, then NW winds. Results in lots of wind affected areas on east aspects and cross loading on north facing couliors. Saw Several point release avalanches on south aspects and one soft snow avalanche on north facing aspect on sin nombre.

Didn’t dig a pit. So can’t share info on that.
User avatar
JBella
Posts: 721
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:19 pm
Location: Usually somewhere between Mexico and Canada.
Contact:

Re: Taos Region

Post by JBella »

TAC report - these were likely natural releases on Wheeler’s westerly aspect chutes above William’s Lake. Classic examples of existing deep slab instability.

https://taosavalanchecenter.org/pro-obs ... ak-chutes/

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CK948G9JCH ... w1pppyk0ks
Marc
Posts: 74
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:57 am
Location: New Mexico
Contact:

Re: Taos Region

Post by Marc »

Lots of folks out today enjoying the powder and the sun. Ring, Pinky, and Hidden got dropped as well as the NW Flank of Sin Nombre. All these have different problems. Polygeneity is the term that comes to mind today.

It’s likely a fine line in some of the NTL and ATL areas, but it skis really well. Choose good terrain and keep it real.

Didn’t hear anyone using radio signaling via BCA Link D5.10 aside from our group. The actual frequency is 462.6625 with a sub audible PL tone of 94.8. As touchy as things can be, it’s a good practice to give a shout out that you’re dropping in. It takes 30 seconds. It could save a life, maybe yours. Get the word out!
Kerry
Posts: 294
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2007 5:17 am
Location: Albuquerque

Re: Taos Region

Post by Kerry »

Skied E aspect trees N of yurt on 2/25. Skied well above 10,500 and <100-degree aspect...lower and further S aspects had breakable crust.
ECTP21 on 3-7mm striated depth hoar at 45cm in 115 HS on E aspect at 11,400. Didn't have any other signs of instability throughout the day, which included ski cuts on isolated 40-45 degree pitches. No collapses.
Bull of Woods trail is challenging with breakable crust and bare spots in lower 1/4.
Marc
Posts: 74
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:57 am
Location: New Mexico
Contact:

Re: Taos Region

Post by Marc »

Took a fun tour up to one of New Mexico‘s finest five star 2000 foot consistent 35° slopes yesterday. RJ and I were able to gain easy road access to Cabresto Lake. Lots of post holing on the way there as well as hiking on bare terrain in order to reach the west face escarpment of Cabresto. It’s definitely full on spring conditions on some aspects and it all elevations in this region. We were fortunate to be able to tap a fine line on good spring corn as a snow pack on West paces is clearly gone Isa thermic and runoff his begun early.

Certainly, will get some more Wintory cycles, but start looking for some wet slide activity on the more solar aspects. The storm cycle will make it seem like winter once again, but the temperature is the following week and the winds most certainly give the groundhog second thoughts. Definitely keep an eye out for any of the persistent weak layers to be cannibalized and your pressure bulb getting down into the depth or layers on more homogenous terrain. It’s pretty unlikely that you’re gonna break anything loose it’s very big unless you’re in the alpine terrain. The inconsistencies of the terrain below tree line, even above tree line in many areas restrict far and wide propagation. This has been the trend for a long time in the Taos area.

With the snow pack being as thin as it is, you might consider breaking out those rocks skis, or making some new ones, and just get out there and having some fun!

See you out there!
Post Reply