Lundy Canyon - snow conditions

Dechambeau Creek
Submission Info
Thursday, January 9, 2020 - 2:30pm
Dechambeau Creek 38° 0' 5.8356" N, 119° 12' 25.866" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Skies were predominantly cloudy over the range today with some scattered snow showers intensifying in the late afternoon around 4pm where I was travelling in the Lundy Canyon area. Lower elevations have from 25-40cm of snow in most areas and where protected it is faceting out and is fairly unconsolidated. More exposed terrain all has wind board and breakable crust conditions with depths being variable from 5-15cm. A ton of terrain is completely stripped down to terra firma as well.  Looking up at Mt Warren, the cirque below the northern shoulder of the mountain was eroded down to rock for most of it.

It was fairly cold as I traveled on an exposed ridge just east of Deer creek and up to the head of the Dechambeau creek watershed.  It was 13degF at 130pm. There were some very light snow showers throughout the day until around 230 when it started snowing around 1cm/hr.  Light winds from the north resided for the majority of the day and started blowing in the 20mph range late afternoon. Dug a snow pit at 10500ft HS: 120cm NE aspect 34deg slope and found the top 90cm of the snowpack to be incredibly firm with hardness being from pencil to knife.  There was a bit of looser snow on the bottom 30cm, but I abandoned digging and stability tests due to the super arduous nature of digging and cold temps. The snow would have supported an elephant I imagine, it was that hard.

Think the takeaway points are that the upper and mid elevations have a lot of incredibly wind affected snow that not only presents “Slide for Life” hazards, but very well may be problematic when new snow falls on it. The 1cm of new snow that fell before 230pm, was sloughing off with my ski turns and running 50ft or so down the slope.  I sought forgiving conditions in low angle trees in a drainage that would take me back to Lundy canyon and although very shallow, surface conditions in these environments are the softest anywhere.  Even the lower moraines, again super shallow, but due to the faceting process made for soft surface conditions.

Snowpack photos: 
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