SH layer was very touchy

Location: Cement Creek Area
Date of Observation: 01/20/2017
Name: Ben Pritchett
Subject: SH layer was very touchy
Aspect: North, East, South
Elevation: 9,600′ to 12,100′

Avalanches:
Weather:
Snowpack: HS averaged well over 2m. Sank 3m probe w/out hitting bottom anywhere near treeline w/ any prior loading. Shallow spots on ridges were as little as 120cm, w/ 180cm avg.

Field avg HST was 25cm @ 11,500; a bit less (~20cm) @ valley floor, and lightly redistributed above treeline, with fresh drifts up to 50cm, but still Fist hard.

The Jan 19 SH layer was very touchy on everything but due south below treeline, just no slab above it yet anywhere on our tour today. Wind loading was re-filling our skin track each lap, but still no slabbing, yet. On SE, also found a nasty crust facet combo topped w/ SH. Minor cracking observed on SE aspect near TL where HST sat on a thin crust. Cracks were going to just below the crust, breaking on the size 1mm facets below the crust on steep rolls, tilt tests and hand tests.

Today, Loose Dry was the only problem, and only over 40 degrees. Looking into the future, with more load, the Cement Creek area could have a small avalanche cycle on most aspects on the Jan 19 SH and crust/facet combos by Monday if the forecast verifies.