Date of Observation: 02/05/2017
Name: Ian Havlick
Aspect: North, North East, East, South, South West
Avalanches: No new avalanches, but obvious signs of <10″ diameter trees broken, and/or blown over 45º angles by a large avalanche off ESE face of Schuykill Peak this winter. Impressive. Also possible evidence of new/extpanded path in Democrat Basin this winter, (fallen/broken trees almost buried).
Weather: Mostly clear, increasing WSW winds throughout day, light to strong especially near and above treeline. Temperatures remained mid 20s at ridgetop, balmy close to 30ºF in valley bottom. Strong solar radiation.
Decent wind transport, loading east facing slopes near and above treeline with <10″ windslabs, bonding well, no cracking, sluffing or signs of instability in new wind drifted snow or old snow. Did observe spotty surface hoar at ridgetop, but wind was beginning to destroy. Southerlies the SH was destroyed by radiation and wind.
Dug every 200 vertical feet or so on steeper (33-40º) NE facing slopes to get a sense for 1/19 surface hoar distribution. All profiles near and below treeline revealed concerning structure and slab behavior in long column tests. Consistent ECTP16-21 SP results and PST<30/100end 20170119 on 8-10mm standing, preserved surface hoar, 50-60cm deep, holding a F-1F slab above. Purposely dug on steeper convex rolls to examine structure if flushed previously, or not, and on all slope I dug, SH was still alive and well. Awaiting the big Mon-Weds storm (1-3″ SWE). This incoming rapid load is concerning, and the 1/19 surface hoar should NOT be written off yet, and still well within skier or sled triggerable range.
Snowmobiled on southwestern facing slopes later in afternoon on south shoulder of Mount Baldy. Yesterday’s storm still generally soft and powdery at higher elevations, steep southerlies got moist and should be monitored for crust/facet combination below tomorrow’s storm.