It's a weak faceted snowpack throughout the range. The persistent slab avalanche problem continues to lie where we have a hard slab from 12/23 with weak fragile facets beneath. This is found on NW through E aspects near and above treeline. Although triggering an avalanche is stubborn and difficult we did get a slope to collapse today and speaks to how fragile the weak layers are currently.
A beautiful sunny day that was warm in the sun and cold in the shade. Very calm winds with 1 to 2 inches of snow available for transport.
Went up Lake Fork proper today to check out what was happening above treeline. Not much is changing overall but we did get a slope to collapse on the way up to the saddle. We dug two pits today one on a ENE aspect near treeline and on above treeline on a NE aspect. Both shared very similar characteristics.
It's an overall shallow snowpack typically less than 100cm of snow that has near-surface facets above a hard slab that formed prior to Christmas. Below that are several weak faceted layers and decomposing snow to the ground. As we've been talking over the last several weeks there are two weak layers of concern. One persistent weak layer is just below the hard slab which continues to be reactive with easy to moderate force. The other is larger grain facets closer the ground that is also a concern. The key slab is the hard slab, as everything else in the snowpack is faceting. It's safe to assume you find yourself skiing on a firm surface there are weak layers underneath.
Slopes that don't have a hard slab on them continue to facet and skiing or riding is becoming somewhat tricky as even ski penetration is sinking in to the weak faceted snow. It's pretty obvious that weeks of high-pressure and a shallow snowpack have helped with the faceting process.
|Continue to find a very poor snowpack structure in an overall shallow snowpack. The facets are incredibly weak and fragile. The key is the hard slab from 12/23 that mostly found above treeline and isolated slopes near treeline that are exposed to wind.