Mammoth Area - Sherwins- snow conditions

Mammoth Rock- Sherwins
Submission Info
Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 8:00pm
37° 36' 41.904" N, 118° 59' 39.8256" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

It was a blustery day with increasing clouds after noon and relatively cool temperatures in the low 20sF. Windy per usual with a steady 40mph 
SW wind on top of the Sherwin Ridge near 10000ft.  A bit of wind transported snow was present which slightly filled in the skin track between ski runs. Did not see any major flagging across the range today, but definitley a bit of transported snow in the alpine regions. The cold temps and past clear night had pulled a bit of moisture out of our most recent wet 2" of snow from Monday and provided soft surface conditions in the more sheltered trees. Just adjacent to ridgeline there were some areas of dense knife hardness windslab formed minimally, perhaps 50ft downslope in sections on due North aspects, other more Easterly aspects right adjacent to ridgeline had no windslab development. I could just make out the small crowns that were identified in the main avy path yesterday, most looked to be 6-12" in crown depth, but they were also filled in with a bit of wind transported snow and it was hard to tell their original crown heights. The small slides I could see initiated just adjacent to, and right underneath small cornices on the lee of the ridge. They sifted through rocky outcropping and small trees, so couldnt identify any major depostion.

Snow height in the trees from 9200-10000 ft on Northerly aspects ranges from 30-70cm, with areas under large trees having no snow and a few wind loaded areas having upwards of 90cm. Pretty easy to punch your pole through the entire snowpack wherever I travelled today. The mid pack layer of December snow is actually becoming less consolidated and looser in many of the thinner areas. In shallow rocky zones, with thinner coverage the snowpack is completely faceted. Ski penetration was around 10-15cm, but when taking the skis off and steppin into the snow, I generally would nearly hit the ground when I stepped off the skis. Skiing was quite supportable and the snow surface was of a wind packed shrink wrap consistency that provided for quite pleasent turns actually... when you didnt hit a rock. Below 9200ft conditions get quite shallow and obstacle ridden, but even the thin snow down here was supportable enough that you could navigate without too much difficulty. Open exposed areas were wind hammered, with thin firm surfaces and sastrugi in areas encapsulating loose faceted snow adjacent to rocks and leeward areas adjacent to ridgeline. (see picture of local skier, who found a pocket)

Hand pits pulled with moderate strength in the basal faceted areas, and kick turn tests did not show much more than a bit of surface cracking in the form of  Mondays little  thin paste over slightly softer snow beneath. 

The general upside down structure remains throughout this zone. We did not experience any signs of instability. I did some agressive ski cutting and robust stomping of firmer wind effected zones just off ridgeline on the northerlies and could not get anything to react.

Snowpack photos: 
Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 
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