McGee Creek -Baldwin Cirque - Snow Conditions

Baldwin Cirque
Submission Info
Saturday, January 25, 2020 - 12:30pm
37° 31' 51.2076" N, 118° 50' 44.97" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

31F @ 10900ft @ 1200pm

It was a tranquil morning, quite still and cool as I skinned up McGee canyon to the Mt Baldwin area. There was some sparkling near surface facets on the snow and the sky today was a gorgeous piercing blue. I made it up to 10900ft in the cirque beneath Mt. Baldwin at noon and dug in there on a NE aspect.

On Jan 19th a few days following our last storm event  Jan 16 a local guide got propagating failure on isolation on an ECT test, which fits into the category of (very poor stabilty) and let’ s say RED FLAG. I wanted to investigate whether similar conditions still existed, so with this goal in mind, 6 days later I dug in a pit at similar elevation and aspect.

There was just under 20cm of new snow from the 1/16 storm residing on a degrading 3-5cm wind board. There was a loose faceted layer sandwiched between the wind board and a deeper very firm pencil hard layer. (See snow profile)

Stability tests:

CT21 Q3 @ 100 X2 Sudden Collapse on facets below degrading wind board

ECTP21 @ 100 Sudden Collapse on facets below degrading wind board, non planer

So compared to the results on Jan 19th  (non withstanding spatial variability discrepancies) it appeared that the general stability in relation to column tests is improving and that the shallower buried wind board was becoming consumed within the snowpack. What I failed to mention in the video is at least the upper soft slab is just that… soft F-4Finger on N & E aspects and didn’t present much energy in the snow pit or on kick turn tests or while skiing. I didn’t get any cracking, collapsing or other signs of instability in the upper cirque. Also, in lower terrain a lot of the snowpack is faceted and unconsolidated within trees and sheltered areas. Areas that are more wind affected harbor surface conditions of  5-10cm wind board that has developed within the top half of the Jan 16th 20-25cmHNS. Super firm conditions reside below in most exposed areas that actually have some snow depth. Although it got quite warm today and the solar input was pretty intense I didn’t observe and loose wet activity what so ever, I kind of thought I would, but didn’t see anything up until when I left around 2pm.

Surface conditions in the upper cirque NE aspect were moderately soft with patches of thin breakable cardboard from 11200ft down to the moraine. Nothing a fat board couldn’t rip through.

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 
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