Snow pack conditions
January 13, 2006
Worthington Canyon, Schell Creek Range
This is a photo looking down from the top of the
Worthington Canyon 'headwall'.  
The slide started in the rocky area directly in the
foreground and ran down to the line I drew on the
picture.  The headwall is very steep, 40 to 50
degrees in sections, with various rock bands
offering very sheer drops.  The slope is almost a
direct north face and gets a lot of wind deposition
at the top of the slope.
It is most likely that this slide occured during the
same slide cycle as other slides that have been
observed so far this season.
We have viewed slides on this slope from a
distance in past seasons.  This was the first up
close look and it revealed no mysteries as to why
it would slide.
The second photo is looking back up
Worthington at the headwall.  The slide area is to
the far right of the snow covered slope, the rocks
are visible just above the pines but still in the
shadows.
A
snow pack note from this tour was that the
layer that produced the slides pictured so far this
season is still in existence on the north facing
slopes that have not already released.
New snow falls are likely to trigger new slides on
similar (north / lee slopes) that have not released
yet.  We experienced some significant
'whumphing' on our tour in the lower angled trees
and more than one 'whumpffh' resulted in
shooting cracks.
One quick pit on an upper east face revealed a
95 cm deep snow pack with one weak layer 20
cm's down and 20 cm's of rounded crystals at
the base of the snow pack.  That 'ball bearing'
layer will be one to watch.  Beware of Big Snows!!

Click on pictures for larger versions.