Snowpack observations were collected during an avalanche class. Snowpits were dug on an NE facing slope northwest of Mammoth Rock. The pit locations are shown in the observation page. Three pits dug within a few meters of each other had different snow depths. Two pits had stout suncrusts that slid downhill while digging the pit. Despite differences in total depth and the presence of crusts on top of and in the pack, the snow crystals were small to large facets. Three compression tests yield similar results in the moderate range.
Snow distribution is widely variable - the snow surface is soft, thin and thick wind and suncrusts, surface hoar and wind hardened. The variable surfae conditions, a thin snowpack and very little snow are making discouraging conditions to travel in the backcountry. It will snow again and there are two things to keep in mind. The widely variable coverage means there will be isolated areas of avalanche hazard. Pay attention to the locations where it looks like you could make linked turns- these slopes will be hazardous with more than a foot of new snow. There is an example in the Observation section.