Observation: Whitney Basin

Observation Date
11/30/2017
Observer Name
Ted Scroggin

Region:

Location Name or Route
Whitney, Moffit Basin
Weather
Sky
Few
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
A few high clouds, light winds on the ridge tops and continued mild weather.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Faceted Loose
Wind Crust
Melt-Freeze Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments
Early season conditions with a variety of crusts, weak sugary snow on shady north aspects and generally thin snow cover.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Upper elevation shady north through northeast facing slopes are a mix of crusts and weak surface snow and quite weak faceted snow near the ground.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments
No real issue right now, but once the snow returns the north and northeast facing slopes will likely see avalanches. There is quite weak faceted snow near the ground and with some added weight from snow and wind it should quickly overload the weak snow pack.
Comments
Access into the Whitney area is a little rough right now with rutted snow packed roads, patches of dirt and generally thin snow conditions.
Video
Looking around the Moffit Basin area, some north facing slopes look fairly white, while the south slopes are still mostly bare ground.
Many upper elevation north facing slopes in the the Moffit Basin went through a natural avalanche cycle during the storm prior to Thanksgiving. Steep rocky terrain with thin weak snow were the places that saw avalanches.
1. This small natural slide resulted from the surface snow that continues to weaken with clear cold nights. 2. This extended column test propagated a fracture across the column with 13 taps from the elbow. The weak sugary faceted snow near the ground is the weak layer.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Low
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Low
Snow Profile Coordinates