State of the Backcountry

Location Name: 
State of the Backcountry
Williams Lake Area
Date and time of observation: 
Sun, 02/04/2018 - 11:19

Red Flags: 

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

What a warm day, as Junuary continues even in the dead of winter.  It was great to see people enjoy the warm weather in T-Shirts by Williams Lake.  Travel from all trail heads is impossible on skis currently as we are back to bare ground with the last week of warm temperatures and high pressure.  For starters things are grim out there, with little snow below and near treeline. Snow still exists above treeline on Northerly aspects but it's hard to get there.  Solar aspects are back to bare ground or patchy snow at all elevations

Continuous snow exists above 8500' on north and shady aspects.  Near and below treeline this snow is shallow and faceting with some areas containing thin sun or melt freeze crusts.  The lower the elevation, the smaller amount of snow.   Above treeline we have a deeper snowpack 2 to 4' with breakable wind crust and supportable hard slab.  Collapsing and shooting cracks have subsided but we still have a poor snowpack structure.  A big takeaway is that the snow from 1/21 is becoming a more cohesive slab (4F to 1F hard).  On north to east aspects this slab is sitting on top of weak sugary snow.  Right now these persistent weak layers are lying dormant waiting for additional weight (potentially our next significant storm) to become active again.

Photo 1: North aspect above treeline where the snow from 1/21 is resting on top of depth hoar.

Photo 2: A deeper snowpack on a north aspect above treeline with multiple weak faceted layers .

Photo 3:  Sun crust at 10,800' with facets beneath

Photo 4: Lake Fork drainage with snow still lingering.  These are slopes that will be most suspect when or if we see a significant storm.

Photo 5:  A faceted snowpack at 11,600'  with no slab on top.

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
50% 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: 

Another warm day!