Avalanche on Elephant's Back on 11/11

Location Name: 
Elephants Back NE face
Carson Pass Area
Date and time of avalanche (best estimate if unknown): 
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 11:30
Location Map: 
United States
38° 40' 46.6788" N, 119° 58' 58.2528" W

Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

Observation made by: Public
Avalanche Observations
Avalanche Type: 
Trigger type: 
Crown Height: 
1 ft
Weak Layer: 
Storm Snow
Avalanche Width: 
9 000ft.
Bed Surface: 
Old Snow
Avalanche Length: 
Number of people caught: 
Number of partial burials: 
More detailed information about the avalanche: 

Party of three (one splitboarder two skiers) traveled to Elephants Back off Carson Pass on Novemebr 11th. My first day on snow, within three days for others in the party. Arrived to the northeast face of Elephants Back in the late morning. Observed three tracks coming off directly below the steep cliff bands with no signs of avalanches. Objective was just skier's right of the observed tracks. Approaching the top of the line, the person in front on the skintrack noticed a crack that he caused a few feet just below his skis. We noticed an increase in snow depth near the top of the line, due to wind loading.

The person in front transitioned and was getting ready to drop when the slab released and carried the person an estimated 150 feet until stopping where the slope flattened out. He was partially buried, and was able to get out of the debris and ski out. He was unharmed. Remaining memebers of the party skied down the avalanche bed with no further activity. Estimated crown height was 12 inches.

There were clear signs of danger that everyone in the party discussed afterwards. Most significant was likely the wind loading that was apparent directly where we intended to ski. Additionally we saw the three tracks with no signs of failure which gave us a false sense that the snowpack was stable. As we were prepping to drop, we acknowledged that we had triggered a crack in the snow, but did not decide to backtrack down the skintrack, or take an alternate route down. Safe to say a lot of this could be attributed to the early season excitement of actually having some snow to slide on in early November, and not wanting to abandon the turns.

Avalanche Photos: 
Weather Observations
Cloud Cover: 
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: