Buttermilk Country-Basin Mtn-SE shoulder -snow conditions

Basin Mtn SE shoulder
Submission Info
Saturday, February 1, 2020 - 1:30pm
Basin Mountain SE shoulder 37° 17' 39.6528" N, 118° 38' 34.9512" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

65F @ 7074ft @ 1100am, dead calm

50F @ 9991ft @ 1245pm, dead calm

45F @ 10223ft @ 200pm, dead calm

It was a great day to be climbing in the Owens Valley, with skiing doable, but not preferred. Hiked and slogged up Basin Mountains SE shoulder to find the thin southerly facing snow so wet and manky that it was too dangerous to ski. Anything with some deeper coverage and more northerly tilt still was supportable and was softened enough to make skiing over the wind shorn surfaces manageable. On southeasterly aspects at 40-30cm in depth I was trenching to the ground hitting rocks. I travelled up to 10500ft and called it, shady aspects were cool, but are practically faceted all the way through or have a sweet breakable crust or a shallow windboard/facet combo 20cm below the surface.  The alpine couloirs looked to be still in decent shape, but the approaches are rapidly degrading by the day with less and less coverage.

Didn’t see any active wet loose avalanche activity in my area, but with the intense heat and sun I decided not to go any further up the SE gully I was originally intending on trying to ski. Tooled around and dug a snowpit on a NE aspect just to see what the snow looked like.


Dug a pit at 10223ft on 63deg NE aspect 36deg slope.


CT15 @ 70cm Q2     &    CT22 @ 70cm Q2 (failed on 5cm faceted layer above Pencil hard windboard 20cm below surface)


Snowpack photos: 
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