Buttermilk Country-Basin Mtn-snow conditions

Basin Mtn SE shoulder
Submission Info
Monday, February 22, 2021 - 12:00pm
37° 17' 43.0044" N, 118° 38' 48.5772" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

I wanted to check out sunny aspects today with the projected hot temperatures, lack of wind and clear skies. I was able to park just past the Horton Lks trailhead on the Buttermilk road and skin on snow up to one of my favorite gullies off the SE corner of Basin Mountain. The gully is primarily an east aspect, but has some good SE tilt on the skiers left of the path.  The eastern snow is still primarily wintry snow with the SE being in that transitional stage of moist rounding surface layer on top of wintry unconsolidated snow which is on its way, but far from resembling a spring pack yet. 5-10cm of new snow was on the shady aspects and the East facing gully had variable conditions from firmer wind board to unsupportable manky snow on the surface in places, especially next to granite outcroppings.  It was quite warm and dead calm all morning while ascending and the snow got quite soft and forgiving on the dead East aspect providing good skiing.

I stopped at 11500ft at noon, and at that time already, I felt it was appropriate to descend before conditions got to warm. Probing in the main gut of the gully I found from 110cm to 150cm of total snow, most areas having a 20cm hard wind board on the surface with another 20cm of softer snow beneath that with 70-80cm of firm slab from the late January storm beneath that. The bottom 20-30cm felt hollow and gave way easily on probing, indicating some of that old likely faceted residual snow from Nov/Dec that had accumulated in this concave terrain feature.

In the lower reaches of the gully around 10000ft I easily initiated small wet loose slides on SE aspects where the unconsolidated transitional snow was quite moist to wet on the top 10-15cm. I did not observe any natural activity on solar aspects, but I also was down to the vehicle by 130pm or so.  Access on snow to the base of Basin and Mt Tom is dwindling fast...unless winter hits with a big storm, spring skiing in the Buttermilks is going to be a bit limited and hard to get to.  There was lots of rock and reefs visible in the aprons of wahoo gully’s and underneath Mt Humphreys unfortunately.

It was 45degF @ 1200pm @ 11500ft. dead calm

Snowpack photos: 
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