Observation: Pine Creek

Observation Date
11/19/2016
Observer Name
Toddeo

Region:

Location Name or Route
Pahvants - Pine Creek Snotel Site
Weather
Sky
Clear
Wind Direction
South
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Warm day up high, valley was inverted in the am.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Faceted Loose
Melt-Freeze Crust
Damp
Snow Characteristics Comments

Thin snowpack, howvever the 15" reported at the Pine Creek Snotel was accurate.  I measured 12" settled in an adjacent meadow.  Still some areas of cold dry snow with some surface faceting (minor).  Most aspects were sloppy damp by 1pm, the exception was very shaded areas.  Some frozen crusts this am. 

Red Flags
Red Flags
Rapid Warming
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Thin snow pack for me equates to poor structure. At this time last year I was stopped on the sand rock ridge road about 500 to 700' lower. Rapid warming would be an issue if there was more snow. I would not have been able to drive to my high point today (7400') after the road defrosted due to mud and sloppy wet snow. Any sun exposed aspect was damp to wet on my exit at 1 pm. Maximum depth in drifts was 18", no cracking.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Normal Caution
Problem #1 Comments

Normal caution for a thin snowpack, this day was more of a walk then a ski.  I made it to the base of some of the large slidepaths but the snow was too thin to travel off road.

 

High Hazard for hitting rocks and wood!

Snow Profile
Aspect
Southwest
Elevation
8800
Slope Angle
0
Comments

12" or so of settled snow siting on the ground at 8800'.  The higher starting zones also have an underlaying layer of unknown depth, I do not think it is deep enough to be a serious concern (famous last words....).  I would guess that this may be faceted due to the northerly aspect. 

 

Good start in this location!

The elk have been helpfull breaking trail.  The only reason i was able to eek out a few turns was because I spent the summer riding this road and know  the smooth sections.

Typical slipepath, starting zones is at approx.  9800' elevation.  This area likely contains at least 15" of snow which warrants caution if we go high and dry.  However the forecast is calling for warm and wet, this should help settle things down if we get some dense snow.

4WD low range was the approach tool of choice today.  Would not have made it to this point without it.  Had to creep down due to mud, slick!

 

Not enough snow for any real avy hazard at this point.  Today was mostly a recon mission while I could still drive up high enough for a reasonable slog to the high country.

Today's Observed Danger Rating
None
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
None
Snow Profile Coordinates