I found the deepest snow of my travels this season today on the north facing slopes of the Knob, the outcrop of weathered granite north of Red’s Lake. A convex roll held 80 cm (31 in) of soft, facets, rounded forms and a 10 cm (4”) layer of fist hardness depth hoar on the ground.
Climbing up the south slopes, damp surface snow with cooler snow below clogged climbing skins similar to what happens in the spring. The snow surface texture changed every few feet, from wind blasted hard slab, soft settled dry snow, to wet clogging snow. A thin, crumbly sun crust marked the interface between the snow prior to the wind event of the first of year and a few inches of snow that managed to stay on the snow surface.
Near surface faceted snow was found wherever the snow was dry. Despite air temperatures above freezing, low January sun angles and long, clear, relatively cold nights keep the sun’s energy from melting the snow surface on north aspects in open glades.
Snow pit tests did not reveal any reactive weak layers. The depth hoar layer, unlike last year at this time, did not collapse.