Observation: Tushers

Observation Date
02/6/2016
Observer Name
Toddeo

Region:

Location Name or Route
Tushers - Mt. Holly and Lake Peak
Weather
Sky
Clear
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
Warm day! Able to bask in the sun and sit on a rock at 11,500'. Very light winds in the alpine.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Dense Loose
Faceted Loose
Wind Crust
Melt-Freeze Crust
Damp
Snow Characteristics Comments

Mixed bag, can't say i really saw anything I would call powder.  Many aspects were damp and will be crusted tomorrow.  North facing aspects below 10,000' were also damp.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Rapid Warming
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Rapid warming and poor snow structure were the primary red flags observed today. I've included some photos of avalanche activity but don't think they are recent enough to warrent a true red flag. The heating and dampening of snow including areas in the alpine concerns me as it may be the 1st real warm up since the last storm cycle. Poor snow pack structure conistng of facets underlaying wind slabs on south aspects in the alpine were enough to keep me from ascending Mt. Holly.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wet Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments

Wet slabs are my primary concern today and tomorrow.  This is the 1st heat cycle since the last storm.

Moderate to considerable hazard, south half of the compass in the alpine and all aspects tree line and below.

Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments

Wind slabs sitting over facets on south aspects in the alpine, these are also likely present on other aspects that I did not travel through in the alpine.

Hard call on the hazard, I treated it as considerable but moderate is more likely, the slabs seemed old and lacking energy, that being said, an ECTP 2 score in the snow pit photo below warrants caution.

Snow Profile
Aspect
Southwest
Elevation
11300
Slope Angle
30
Comments

2 layers of facets highlighted with gloves.  Upper 2" thick wind slab failed on isolation.  Rest of column failed on lower facets as ECTP 2, Q2.  Photo of basal facets below.  HS in this area very variable.

One more snow profile below, Lake Peak, west aspects 10,800.  HS 140 cm with 10 cm of rounding 4 finger facts at the base (not visible in photo).  This is a popular spot close to Eagle Point Resort.  The midpack generally grades from 1 finger upward to 2 to 4 with some inversions that are likely old wind crusts.

Three photos of not so recent activity below:

1, Mt Holly, south aspect

2, Lake Peak, Northeast aspect

3, Mt Holly, Northeast aspect, note coyote hole in debris, this hole is over 6 deep and likely holds a deer based on some hair.  This path is very scoured at the top and likely ran early in the season.

4, crack in pencil to knife hard drift at top of path in photo above.

Generally a moderate hazard with pockets of considerable in wind loaded areas of the alpine.  I would also say considerable for areas receiving direct sun.  My hazard is based on worst case scenario.

Of note, the snow yesterday in the Pahvants had a new crispy feel to it, not so in the Tushers, I am attributing this to wind impacts in elevations 2000 to 3000 feet higher.  

Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable
Snow Profile Coordinates