Observation: Electric Lake

Observation Date
02/15/2016
Observer Name
Wilson, Kendall, Hardesty

Region:

Location Name or Route
Electric Lake
Weather
Sky
Obscured
Precipitation
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
West
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
Temperatures right around 0°C, skies obscured, becoming overcast and eventually broken. Enough wind from the West to transport snow on ridgelines.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
1"
New Snow Density
High
Snow Surface Conditions
Dense Loose
Wind Crust
Melt-Freeze Crust
Rain-Rime Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments

Different snow surface today, with the solar-aspect melt-freeze crusts staying hard throughout the day under lower temperature and much lower insolation values. Found supportable crust under a trace (1/2”?) of rimed needles and small graupel on East facing mid to high slopes.  Some wind affect on ridgelines, and dense ankle-high old powder (actually wonderfully bouncy skiing) on north and northwest.  A very thin crust on higher elevation North may have been rime?  Not much to show for it on the trees, but a light directional riming visible.  Felt lucky to be in freezing temps at all, since we had rain on the windshield driving up Fairview Canyon.

Comments

Intact snowpit:  Pit and tests in a 135cm snowpack on NNE facing 9400’ prompted forecaster Hardesty to issue the informal travel advice: “ski it if its white” because the ECTX and right-side-up structure were so reassuring.  4f+ basal facets were damp and dormant. 

Repeater snowpit:  On the same aspect at a similar elevation in a repeater slide with HS 90cm, the advice was instead “keep me on belay”.  We saw 2-3mm basal facets up to 25cm, with Q 1.5 propagation near the top of the facets (20cm) on arm-drop swings. ECTP35. The old crown suggested a 40-50 cm avalanche earlier in the season.

The prize for biggest and sharpest facets went to a NW ridgeline where wind scouring had kept the snow to around 35 cm, and skiing revealed 10cm of windpacked decomposing forms over 25 cms dry bouncy facets.  No slab to speak of, though, just textural intrigue at this stage.

Photos:

Hint of rime

Safety first

Location of old slide seen from below....

Full propagation ECTP35 - repeater slab now 60cm; failure on 2-3mm faceted grains near the top of 25cm basal facets.

 

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