Mammoth Area - Solitude Canyon - snow conditions

solitude cyn
Submission Info
Sunday, January 5, 2020 - 2:15pm
solitude canyon 37° 35' 49.8444" N, 118° 57' 37.3716" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Gorgeous day in the Sierra with sunny skies and relatively calm winds below 9500ft. We made it to the top of the primary terrain in Solitude Canyon to find some quite firm and extremely wind affected snow at the top of the entry points. It wasn’t the best terrain choice for the group today and we decided to ski mellow gnome trees on the NW aspect down and out through the main drain. Snow surfaces in the trees were soft and forgiving on the NW while everything open and exposed even below tree line was either breakable crust or semi supportable 5cm wind board. Overall coverage is decent, but relatively thin in this rocky area.

Did not feel any breeze until we climbed up to about 9500ft this afternoon and at 10375ft it was 29degF at 115pm. It was a good Cali day with warming sun and beaming bright blue skies.

Dug a snowpit at 9863ft on a NW aspect, 33slope angle

HS: 105cm in a cross loaded area, everywhere else in a 2 meter radius measured from 55-70cm in total snow depth.

I wanted to check out if any rain crust or melt-freeze crust still existed in the stratigraphy. 35cm below the surface there was a 10-15cm layer of looser, decomposed snow sitting on top of quite firm 1F snow. A compression test failed Hard at CT23 Q2 at 35cm below the surface. I couldn’t find any well-defined firm crust or ice layer, so at least in this location the rain crust had decomposed or was not well established in the first place. An Extended Column test produced no results (ECTX).

No signs of instability, there were some small 2cm wafers of wind carton that would periodically shear off in steeper exposed terrain, but that’s it. The tour seemed to confirm the overall unlikely nature of any natural or human triggered avalanche occurring at present.

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
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