McGee Creek - Wineglass couloir - Isolated fresh windslabs and conditions

WineGlass Couloir
Submission Info
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 1:30pm
Red Flags: 
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
37° 32' 6.6012" N, 118° 48' 19.89" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Went for a sip from the Wineglass today up McGee Creek.  Graybird morning with a considereable inversion with air temp of 12°F at the car at 8:30am at the usual winter road closure.  Thin, but totally adequate supportable coverage on the road from here on in to the pack station and beyond.  Travelled with a partner with a good log GPSed for the creek crossing just before the Windeglass Couloir, unfortunately the log was slippery and he fell in!  Doh!  Wet cold feet were the only casualty fortunately.   

By mid-morning the gray-bird burned off, the sun came out, and the day was quite beautiful.  Consistent downslope winds most of the morning and early afternoon in the Wineglass, with spindrift coming down the cliffs, and textured snow on the open faces above.  Some wind transport visible over ridgelines of sourounding mountains most of the day from moderate SW winds.  Isolated pockets were found where new windslab was sensitive, but in most areas the older surface windslab was bonded well (many hadpits dug along the route checking on this).  See attached videos of handpits and stomping in area of sensitive windslab - Easy failures, and cracks propogating ~10m from skis - in limited isolated locations on NW and NE facing slopes, 9800' & 10,800'.  These sensitive conditions were not widespread across the slope, but these test results did keep us keenly attentive to the snow conditions under our feet.

Dug a profile just under the ridgeline on ENE facing slope at 10,900' in a deeper pocket of wind deposit - 155cm total snwo depth.  Besides the very surface layer of recent dense wind slab, the uinderlying snowpack was quite stable.  See attached profile.  Despite the depth of this particular snowpit, snow depths for the most part ranged between 1 & 2ft.  

Plenty of vey shallow reefy areas, but we managed to choose a good descent route in the upper bowl to avoid hitting any rocks, and the snow was mostly quite soft and enjoyable. The main choke / wineglass stem however was a different story.  While the snowpack was deeper and underlying obstacles weren't concerning, the choke held VERY variable snow with plenty of breakable leading to very challenging skiing ... watching our snowboard partner rip down seemingly effortlessly made us envious to say the least of that wider planning surface.  Once out of the choke and out in the open, the snow was again soft and enjoyable.     


Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
50% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Wind Direction: 
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