Observation: Summit

Location: Johnson South

Route & General Observations

Snowmachined up Johnson South winter route to Bench Lake. The trail is starting to get thin in some spots with bare ground beginning to show itself near tree wells. There was a stout 3″ crust from the Trail Lake to Bench Lake. We saw many older wet loose avalanches on south and east slopes along our ride. The only newer slab we saw was on the south end of Johnson Pass was on an east slope that looks a shallow slab likely triggered by a wet loose avalanche. We saw one glide crack on an east aspect. We did a few hand shear tests which were not concerning and showed a similar snowpack structure to Summit with sugary snow surrounding the President’s Day crust.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

There was a thin layer of clouds that burned off in the afternoon. Light winds to 4100' and warming temperatures by 4pm melted the surface crust in sun affected areas.

Snow surface

There was a 3" stout crust from Trail Lake to Bench Lake. Around 2500' the surface crust started disappearing, replaced with a few inches of soft snow to 4100'. The surface crust melted later in the afternoon.


We dug a few hand shear tests with no concerning results. The snowpack structure was similar to Summit with a stout crust 3" thick over around 5" moist snow and softer snow above and below the President's Day crust which was located about 10" below the surface. The layer below the President's crust was dryer and did produce a planar shear with a lot of effort. Hand shears results were hard. At 3,600' we dug a pit. Its structure appeared to be mostly wind slab with no weak layers. We had no concerning test results. The pit location was likely in an area that had been wind loaded.

Photos & Video
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