Mammoth Crest above Crystal

SNOWPACK OBSERVATION
Crystal Chutes/Jaws area of Mammoth Crest
Submission Info
Member
Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - 4:30pm
Jaws, Mammoth Crest 37° 35' 0.6396" N, 119° 0' 57.0132" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Variable is the name of the game right now. Toured out of Tamarack and noticed lots of damp snow in all but sheltered NE - NW aspects below ~9500 climbing the Crystal/Red Cone ridge to the Crest. I didn't see significant rollerball activity, although I was mostly avoiding S. slopes for snow quality purposes. Still some nice recrystalized powder in the trees and on the N third of the compass. Above treeline a wide variety of old wind slabs and wind scouring dominate the snow surface. Some of the wind slabs are quite hard and up to 15 - 20 cm, but they don't seem reactive to me in hand pits and cuts on test slopes - I wasn't able to get any significant cracking anywhere. In places along the ridge, the wind has scoured down to old ice layers, so it's still worth being cautious of unexpected ice in steeper terrain, and it's possible that in isolated pockets that could provide a bed surface/dangerous interface after the next storm - it seems fairly isolated though, and I only found it right up on the ridgeline.

I skied a few lines in the Crystal Chutes and Jaws area and was surprised how much relatively good snow still existed - above ~9500 E and even SE aspects weren't totally destroyed by warming, especially where trees or rock features provided a bit of shading. There are few small old crownlines in Jaws that are almost certainly naturals from the wind loading late last week. When breaking trail up Jaws I was getting anywhere from 0 to ~15cm ski penetration depending on wind slab. I switched to booting for the last 100m to the ridgeline and found some pretty hard snow from the wind action requiring multiple kicks for each step for security. A whippet was nice for this section.

Weather Observations
Cloud Cover: 
25% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Light
Air temperature trend: 
Cooling
Wind Direction: 
Southwest
More detailed information about the weather: 

Started out at Tamarack at a balmy 7+C at about 3:15, but it cooled to about 0C by the time I got to the Crest. Calm winds on my first lap at the top of Red Cone bowl, but when I got to the top of Jaws on later laps winds had increased to a light+ wind out of the SW.

ESAC receives support from ...