NW slope at 11,800

Location Name: 
Hard Slabs Above Treeline
Williams Lake Area
Date and time of observation: 
Sat, 02/22/2020 - 12:00

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

Went for a tour up the Williams Lake drainage. On a NW slope above treeline, in terrain which is consistently impacted by winds; we found multiple layers of very hard slabs with persistent weak layers underlaying them. These hard slabs were supportable under the load of a backcountry traveler, and made for difficult shoveling when digging down into the snow. The weight of the overlaying hard slabs have been compressing the persistent weak layers in the snowpack. In this one location, these persistent weak layers were starting to show signs of healing. They failed under hard force in small column tests. 

The snow surface varied. A breakable melt freeze crust was found on solar aspects in open areas. A subtle wind skin was observed in wind-prone terrain at higher elevations. Surprisingly good skiing was found on northern slopes in the trees. Warm surface snow at and below 11,000 feet began sticking to our skis as we traveled back down to the trailhead. 

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
75% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

A warm day with temperatures reaching the mid 30's at 11,000 feet. Calm winds with an occasional light gust out of the West. Clouds began covering the higher peaks around 1:00pm, with trace amounts of snow. No accumulation.