I took this shot of a very recent avalanche in RMNP from Trail Ridge Road today. I didn't see any tracks anywhere near, so I'm assuming it was natural. It was pretty shallow, but getting caught in that would've had bad consequences getting raked over that rock band.
Lot's of rock and snow. Rock gets warmed up by the sun and the rest is history. Not surprised by this at all. Read a blip on TGR that lift gully may have slide at Bert. That's pretty unusual this late in the season. Lot's of stuff is going to shed it's skin this week. The good news is that unless we get another big storm cycle, spring riding is here. Stuff should be pretty consolidated and easy to read by this weekend. Finally...
that looks pretty steep, my question is, dont avalanches usually happen between 35 and 40 degrees slope? (obviously this is not a rule but a guideline) i would have thought looking at the photos that a slab avalanche on terrain that steep was fairly uncommon due to the slope being steep enough for natural fluffs throughout the season. Am i completely wrong or is this kinda unusual?
30-45 degrees is the prime avalanche range in Colorado. 38 degrees being the magic bullet. That is the most likely slope to slide. In Utah, the upper range goes up to 50 or 55 degrees I believe. The snow is slightly heavier and therefore sticks to steeper stuff than in Colorado. Go further West like say the Cascades and the slope that is likely to slide goes up to or over 60 degrees. Again, wetter snow sticks to steeper angles.
As far as this slope goes, we have had an unusual amount of snow this year in Colorado. Pretty much all of the West for that matter. Snow pack for time of year is 200% above average. So there is a load there. The angle on that slope is probably right around 45 degrees. Snow will stick on steeper stuff. Generally speaking it's not for a very long stretch.
I'm not sure how steep that slope is to be honest. Pretty much all I had was a direct head on view and it's nearly impossible to tell slope angle when looking head on. There's lots of slopes around that are 40 degrees or less that appear damn near vertical when looking at them head on.
One thing I can just about guarantee you is that slope isn't nearly as steep as it looks in those pictures. I'd be very surprised if it was more than 45 degrees. Probably closer to 40.