Buttermilk Country-Basin Mtn- snow conditions

Basin Mtn NE Coloir
Submission Info
Sunday, January 26, 2020 - 12:30pm
Basin Mountain 37° 17' 56.0472" N, 118° 39' 11.718" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

21.6F @ 11700ft @ 1230pm

15F @ 12796ft @ 300pm

Headed up Basin Mountain in the Buttermilk area to check on new snow totals and see about any potential persistent slab concerns. It was damp and misty at the Horton Lks trailhead and 35Fdeg upon taking off. Although super thin it was nice to skin and ski back on snow to the vehicle today

The lower aprons of Basin Mtn are very shallow with no contiguous slab except for miniscule panels in cross loaded gullies. Where there is a bit more snow (60-70cm) within northerly trees at 9500ft it is thoroughly rotten and faceted. Rocks and breakable crust are the biggest hazards yet conditions today provided enough coverage to get and up down with no problem. The upper NE slopes are quite variable, and have from 60-135cm of total snow with a few areas much deeper. The upper 60cm of the snowpack in the main NE couloir was so spatially variable that we continuously dug hand pits, finding varying depths of the January 16th snow, residing shallow to thick wind boards, and areas where there was more faceted snow below wind board layers. There was little consistency in the snowpack as far as depth and structure goes; there was never more than 40ft of consistent snow structure and to try describing all the varying degrees of layers would not be practical. No shooting cracks or collapsing observed.

We found 265cm with the probe where we dug a shallow pit at 11700ft which included a portion of last year’s snowpack residing on the bottom. (See Video)

Stability tests:

CT11 Q2 X2 @ 20cm below surface

ECTN11 @ 20cm below surface

It was fairly sheltered in the NE couloir with some shedding spindrift causing small point releases that ran 50ft or so underneath the north wall. The day got progressively colder as conditions cleared and by midafternoon visibility was excellent and precipitation had stopped. It snowed very intensely for about 30 minutes around 1230-100pm, but for the most part snowfall was light through the morning subsiding around 200pm. 4-5” of total new snow fell in our area, with the majority of it being small graupel and rimed precipitation particles. There was no wind slab development, just a very light contiguous layer of non wind affected snow in this area with about a 10” small soft cornice on top of the col that easily kicked off. Imagine winds tonight could transform much of this residing new snow into denser and more compact wind deposits by tomorrow. Looking out at Mt Humphreys and further to the south there was a strong Westerly wind blowing and transporting the new snow.

Snowpack photos: 
Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 
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