Route & General Observations
Ascended west ridge to 3200′. Intent was to inventory surface conditions in anticipation of a shift in weather this weekend. Also looking to get a sense for the reactivity of the New Years buried surface hoar and the Thanksgiving facets, and the presence / properties of a slab above these layers.
No red flags.
Broken clouds, temps in the upper teens, calm winds below treeline, light northerly winds at ridgetops. No precip.
Surface hoar at all aspects and elevations sitting on faceted snow. Surface hoar ranges from 6-9mm feathers below 2000' to 3-4mm wedges above 2500'. The New Years melt freeze crust (the crust nearest the surface) has faceted out significantly.
The most significant change in the snowpack over the last week is the marked faceting. For example, in the meadows at 1800', a week ago one could push their pole grip all the way to the ground with moderate force. Now one can push their pole basket to the ground with moderate force, showing that the numerous crusts in the snowpack have faceted out.
Hand pits at 1800' were failing with easy force below the New Years melt freeze crust on 6-9mm buried surface hoar (see photos).
We dug in 3 locations:
West Aspect, 23* Slope, HS=55cm
CT11 SC on 3mm depth hoar, ECTX
North Aspect, 22* Slope, HS=45cm
CT16 PC, ECTN18, down ~30cm on 1-2mm facets sandwiched between decomposing crusts, ECTX
SSW Aspect, 30* Slope, HS=65cm
CT2, CT3, CT7 SP, ECTP23, ECTP29, PST 30/100 END down 45 on 2-3mm Thanksgiving facets sitting above a basal crust