Observation: Whitney Basin

Observation Date
01/2/2018
Observer Name
Ted Scroggin

Region:

Location Name or Route
Whitney Basin-Moffit Peak
Weather
Sky
Clear
Wind Direction
West
Wind Speed
Calm
Weather Comments
Nice cool morning after a beautiful "Super Moon" last night. Mostly calm winds and some tired snow conditions in the Whitney area.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Faceted Loose
Melt-Freeze Crust
Damp
Snow Characteristics Comments
Settled powder snow in the sheltered areas, melt freeze crusts on the sunny slopes and some hard old tired wind slabs in exposed terrain. Riding feels like it is getting less supportive and more like being in the sandbox. A shallow snow pack and clear cold nights are beginning to break down some of the supportability.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
Poor snow pack structure continues to be the red flag from my travels. I was getting mixed results with snow pit tests, some isolated columns would break and propagate with taps from the elbow, while other tests revealed more stable results. I'm still playing it conservatively out there.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Persistent Slab
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments
Some areas feel like they are slowly gaining some strength, but other places still feel and show unstable snow conditions. The weak sugary snow below the x-mas storm slab and around crusts are still a red flag.
Comments
First photo: Some snow pits continue to show unstable snow where an isolated column breaks below the x-mas slab into weak sugary snow. Second photo: The riding in the meadows and low angle terrain is not too bad, despite generally shallow snow. Third photo: A few old tired wind slabs are around if a person goes looking for them, breaking into the weak sugary snow below.
Threw in some pictures of the avalanche cycle that happened during the holiday break. The Double Hill area was quite active with both naturals and human triggered slides. Big Al first spotted this large avalanche on the south end of Double Hill. I was able to get a quick look at the east side of Moffit Peak where lots of debris piled up below some of the avalanche paths.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates