Duck Pass and Pika Peak - winds

SNOWPACK OBSERVATION
Pika Peak
Submission Info
Forecaster
Wednesday, January 1, 2020 - 1:30pm
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Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
PIka Peak 37° 32' 38.4396" N, 118° 56' 58.038" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Wanted to get into the alpine again today and see how the winds were having their way.  Toured thru the Lakes Basin, up and over Duck Pass, up the west slope of Pika Peak, down a north couloir, and back over Duck Pass.  The northwest winds definitely did turn on, and resulted in blowing snow in more areas than expected.  See attached videos.  We dug many handpits across the landscape throughout our travels, and the one thing that was consistent was their inconsistency even across small areas on a slope.  The most interesting result we got was in an isolated north-facing spot at 10,400', see attached video.  While the circumstances of the pit itself weren't concerning, it alerted us to pay attention for areas that may be similar with a deeper more widespread deposit.  We also triggered a small isolated dinner-table sized pocket while skiing the north aspect of Pika Peak mid-slope ~11,000'.  This was on the edge of the slope near some rocks where some crosswinds had left a deposit. The most concerning thing we saw all day however was snow transport that was occuring over a ridgeline at treeline behind Pika peak.  Snow could be seen steadily being blown over this convex ridgeline onto the southeast side into complex undulating terrain.  I wouldn't be suprised at all if we were able to access that terrain that we could have triggered a decent sized windslab.

Below ~9500', even north facing slopes were warming up and snow was getting heavy.  We did see evidence of one very small loose wet point release on a southerly aspect on the backside of the Sherwins at ~3pm on our way out.    

Skiing conditions varied greatly, from firm consistent wind board in the north facing couloir, to some limited areas of breakable crust, to soft wind scalloped snow, to some cold powder and hot powder.                          

Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Yes
Cloud Cover: 
25% of the sky covered by clouds
Wind Speed: 
Strong
Precipitation: 
None
Wind Direction: 
Northwest
More detailed information about the weather: 

Warm windy day.  

-Air temp at 11:45am @ 10,850' = +2°C.

-Air temp at 1:30pm @ 11,700' = -2°C.

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