Observation – 4/3/2014 – Essex Creek drainage, Middle Fork, Flathead Range

From: Steven Zwisler

Date: 4/3/14

Time: 0900-1600

Location: Essex Cr

Activity: Skiing



Snowpack Observations:


Skied to the head of Essex Cr and descended the trees below the Adams/Cameahwait saddle in old dense snow and nearly corn. We could not hit ground with a 10 ft probe at 6,400 ft. The snow pack was upside down at 6,400 ft. There was no settling, cracking, or other alarms. We saw no current avalanche activity but did we ever see some impressive history. All the slide paths off Essex Mt into Essex Cr had gone big with several damning the creek and some lobes turning to go down the valley. There were slides in the woods below cliff bands. A slide came down the big opening off the back side of Snowshed that meets Essex Cr at 4,800 ft, crossed the creek, and extended down valley. There were new wet slides on top of the old debris though the newer slides did not reach the creek or the summer trail. Cameahwait and Adams had old visible triangle shaped crowns and debris trains. The one from Cameahwait went to 5,200 ft. Peak 7,854 had old slides in its west facing glades where I have never seen avalanches in the 33 years I have skied in the Essex drainage. All in all a sobering reminder of what can happen. Oh, it was also a beautiful spring day.