Chicken Wing Snow Conditions-Natural Slab Avalanche on White Wing

Chicken Wing
Submission Info
Friday, January 17, 2020 - 12:30pm
37° 45' 25.9632" N, 119° 2' 9.2832" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

 With last night’s new snowfall and strong SW winds, I remained below tree line to reconnoiter and get a feeling for how the new snow (20-30cm) was bonding to old snow surfaces and to look for potential wind and storm slab.

Driving 395 this morning I saw a slab avalanche on the viewer’s left side of White Wing on an East aspect. Estimating--the crown looked to be 1-2’ depth, 100-150’ wide and ran vertically 200’. It was in a wind loaded gully below tree line and was in the D1.5/2 range. There looked to be enough volume in the toe of the slide that it could have buried a person.

New snow depths averaged around 30cm on Chicken wing with only the shortest trees within the canopy holding deposits of new snow. The taller timber was all free of any snow indicating the winds. There was only a bit of wind effect at the top of Chicken wing with slight a stiffening (4F) of the top 5-10cm of snow. I was unable to get any snow to move on ski cuts.  The old snow surface and temperature crusts were very apparent while skiing on the Eastern aspect and overall skiing conditions on the more northerly aspects provided better turns. I did not get any collapsing of the snowpack or significant shooting cracks in my area today.

The San Joaquin Ridge looked variable with some drainage harboring very wind affected surfaces while others looked to hold soft snow.  Through the binoculars I couldn’t see any other avalanches along the crest from my vantage.

It was relatively calm, and sunny with a high haze today, temperatures increased throughout the day with 28degF recorded at 100pm.


Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
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