Observation: Whitney Basin

Observation Date
03/7/2017
Observer Name
Ted Scroggin

Region:

Location Name or Route
Whitney Basin
Weather
Sky
Few
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Winds are still the highlight with moderate to gusty even into the lower elevations. The new light density snow is easily blown around with some of this likely sublimating before it hits the ground. Nice temperatures in sheltered areas, but cool up high in the wind.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
12"
New Snow Density
Low
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments
Hard to tell how much new snow fell with all the wind, but looks like 10~12" of fairly light density snow that was over the hood.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Cracking
Red Flags Comments
WIND, WIND and more WIND. It was fairly steady along the ridge lines with a brief break mid~morning, but picked back up. A few easy to initiate soft wind slabs around a foot and half deep that would break up and create some longer running sluffs.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Decreasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
I was expecting the fresh wind slabs to be more sensitive than what I was finding today. The new light density snow was not developing into much of a stiff slab and would sluff and break up as these moved down slope. I did not tease any steep slopes and would imagine there are some deeper and more tender slabs that could trip up a person.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Cornice
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments
More cornice building weather today as the winds continued to create sensitive cornices that were breaking off the ridge lines.
Comments
Surprised to find about 10~12" inches of new snow in the Whitney area and most of the old tracks are filled in. It was another great day with over the hood conditions.
A few soft wind slabs and sluffing of the new snow. Lots of natural sluffing as the sensitive cornices would break and intiate shallow wind slabs.
Gusty winds were getting into the lower protected areas and stayed fairly consistent along the high ridge lines. At times the new snow appeared to be "boiling~off" Double Hill.
The winds alone would justify a considerable danger, although I was observing mostly manageable soft wind slabs and sluffing that did not involve much new snow.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates