November Snowpack

Location Name: 
Below Lake Fork Drainage
Williams Lake Area
Date and time of observation: 
Wed, 11/29/2017 - 12:00
Location Map: 
United States
36° 33' 7.11" N, 105° 26' 14.3592" W

Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

Observation made by: Forecaster
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Backcountry travel on skis is nearly impossible with the lack of snow coverage.  However, we did manage to get out for a walk in the forecasting zone today to get an eye on potential problem layers. Most importantly, we wanted to check out the snow that had fallen yesterday, November 28th, on old snow from the November 7th and November 18th storms that lingered on predominantly on high, shady aspects. A shallow snowpack combined with cold air temperatures has produced basal facets in this layer of older snow.  We also observed some deteriorating facet crust combinations within this basal facet layer. So far we have a weak snowpack structure, and this basal facet layer could prove to be our first major stability issue.  

  • Our snowpack picked up 10-15cm (4-6") in the most recent storm on 11/28.

  • Light to moderate winds near and above treeline were observed transporting snow throughout the day on 11/29.

  • Our snowpit we measured 21cm (8”) of new snow. The discrepancy of measured versus recorded snow demonstrates wind-loading.

  • We observed two distinct layers in the snowpack: new snow from the 11/28 storm, and old snow from the two previous storms on 11/7 and 11/18.

  • The old snow layer consisted of large facets (3mm).

  • These two distinct layers were divided by a deteriorating crust at 16cm.

  • We observed another deteriorating crust within the basal facet layer at 6cm.

  • Both the 16cm and the 6cm crusts are subtle layers, and have limited distribution.

Photo 1: Southwest wind cross-loading slopes on Sin Nombre Peak.

Photo 2: Northeast wind cross-loading slopes on Simpson Peak (but from a different direction!)

Photo 3: Cross-loaded slopes on different aspects of Wheeler Peak.

Photo 4: Weak snowpack structure.

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
25% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: