Convict to McGee - Checking out the Alpine

SNOWPACK OBSERVATION
Around Mt. Aggie
Submission Info
Forecaster
Tuesday, December 31, 2019 - 12:30pm
37° 31' 59.6748" N, 118° 50' 26.8584" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

I wanted to get a look into the alpine today and hunt for some wind slabs so decided to tour out of Convict lake, up the Hippie Trees to the summit ridge of Mt. Aggie at 11,300', and down into McGee Canyon.

Beautiful sunny day with some scattered clouds and mostly calm winds, except for a light NW breeze at my high point summit at 11,300'.  No visible snow transport anywhere today.  I did see some evidence of some very small loose dry point releases which likely occured in the last 2-3 days on some east to north facing terrain above treeline originating from steep cliffy areas.  The most interesting thing I saw all day was a small debris pile just below the convex ridgeline on an east facing slope which likely occured during the SW winds on Sunday (see attached photo and video).  It looks like a pocket got loaded, and then likely triggered naturally, and just fractured apart and slid barely 20' downslope.  Then the next day's NE winds likely destroyed evidence of the crown.  I also dug into a mellow easterly slope at the ridgetop to investigate the firm surface windslab, and found pencil hard slab from 2-5" thick ontop of fist hard snow sandwhiched by another firm windslab under it.  Isolating small blocks produced varying results from easy clean shears, to failures with moderate to hard force and rough shears, all within less than 10' area (see attached video).  

I dug a pit at 9950' in the Hippie trees and found 50cm of snow, all right-side-up, with no failures upon compression tests.  No well-developed facets despite the shallow snow depth, but definitely some signs of faceting.  

Long story short, I found no evidence of instabilities today from the trees to the alpine.  Great snow quality in the hippie trees, but scary-shallow snow.  I skied 2/3 of the way down and had some nice silky turns, then started scrapping lots of rocks, so skinned back up and conintued to Aggie.  Very variable snow in exposed areas, from breakable wind board to wind-erroded soft snow patches, and some suprisingly nice soft snow in a confined north facing couloir on Aggie.  Thin snow again on the exit out of McGee, but supportable and doable with caution.    

*McGee Creek Rd is snow-covered by driveable to the trailhead with 4 wheel drive.  

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
No
Cloud Cover: 
25% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Precipitation: 
None
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