Observation: Whitney Basin

Observation Date
02/9/2017
Observer Name
Ted Scroggin

Region:

Location Name or Route
Whitney Basin
Weather
Sky
Broken
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Warm start to the day and no overnight freeze. Our groomer mentioned he had rain up to 9,000' around midnight early this morning. Today was a mix of grey skies, sunshine and moderate to strong southwest winds.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Wind Crust
Damp
Snow Characteristics Comments
A wide variety of conditions with very dense snow on the north facing slopes, wind hammered snow along the exposed ridge lines and quite damp snow where the sun was.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Rapid Warming
Red Flags Comments
The snowpack was quite dense and as Craig mentioned; "shrink wrapped", but the gusty winds still found snow to blow around. A big warm up for the snow and lots of roller balls and damp snow this afternoon.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments
I did not observe any fresh wind slabs, but the strong winds at times was drifting snow onto the leeward slopes.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Cornice
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments
There were numerous slopes where large chunks of cornice had broken off and tumbled quite far down the slope and some of these triggered some shallow slides.
Comments
Without a good overnight freeze, the roof of our cat shed continued to produce some large slabs of snow sliding off the roof.
1. Some of the cornice blocks are quite large and you would not want to be in the path as these are tumbling down the slope. 2. On this steep northeast facing slope a large chunk of cornice broke naturally and triggered a small slide, but the debris piled up quickly where the slope transitioned onto more gentle terrain. Not a good to place to hang out below these big cornices. 3. Here on Double Hill another fresh chunk of snow broke naturally off the ridge line.
The winds have been blowing steady for a couple of days and today they continued to find enough snow to drift onto leeward slopes and at times the winds were swirling upslope.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable
Snow Profile Coordinates