Lakes Basin - Red Cone

Red Cone
Submission Info
Sunday, December 20, 2020 - 1:00pm
37° 35' 46.6404" N, 119° 1' 26.8932" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Toured up to Redcone Bowl from Tamarack TH to dig some holes, look for signs of instabiilty, and overall condiitons.  Beautiful day without a cloud in the sky and mostly calm winds with occasional light gusts at the ridgetop out of the east, and mild temps.  First pit we dug was on a small steep west facing terrain feature above the usual skin track at 9600', just next to where a small avalanche was triggered and reported a few days ago.  ECTP21 failing in the Nov Facet layer, see attached video.  Next pits we dug were in the Redcone Bowl proper, on the north facing slope and the WNW facing slope at ~10,100'.  Both pits had ECTP results in the Nov facet layers.  However, the north facing one failed mid-facet layer jsut under the decomposing ice crust, and the west facing one failed at the top of the facet layer just under a 3-5cm stout Knife-minus windboard layer. See attached video for N facing test.  The upper north facing slope was stripped by recent NE winds to the ground.  West facing slope held nice supportable snow for the most part, but still shallow with lurking sharks!  We then headed down the steep northerly facing chutes that produced some large shooting cracks on Dec 14th. Traversing across the top of the entrances to these chutes did not produce shooting cracks today, however some small windslab pockets were sensitive, and failed ~8" deep (see attached pic).  We also saw debris and a crown in the distance underneith the massive cliffband of the Mammoth Crest past Hollywood chute (hard to tell details from our vantage point), this being the only evidence of natural avalanche activity reported this season.  

The snowpack is quite shallow, with widespread weak structure.  Steep unsuported slopes from W to N to E are worthy of discretion, especially if they have enough snow coverage without significant anchors to ride (rideale slopes like this are few and far between given the current conditions, but do exist!)  Staying to lower angle terrain is wise.

Ski conditions were surprisingly good despite the shallow snowpack, even on the exit to lake George. That being said, several falls resulted from hitting submerged rocks, so take it slow and be cautious if you head out before we get more snow!      

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
north chute off red cone ridge - small windslab
Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 
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