McGee Mt - New Snow, warming, conditions

McGee Mtn
Submission Info
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 - 10:30am
Red Flags: 
37° 33' 59.8428" N, 118° 48' 40.6872" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Toured up the East Face of McGee and down the SE Gully (7,100' - 10,600').  Left the car at 7:15 under clear blue skies, crisp air temp in the upper teens, low elevation breeze and strong upper elevation Northerly winds creating some small banners over high peaks (see attached photo of Mt Morgan North).  Moderate downslope winds were off and on during the ascent helping to keep the old snow surface cool and frozen on the east face despite the full sunshine until atleast 10:15am when we were off the slope.  Last night's cold temps and clear skies helped to get a good surface refreeze, but under 30cm of dry frozen crust, quite moist snow grains existed down atleast 2 more feet at 9,600' on East aspect.  Pockets of freshly wind deposited new snow from yesterday's snowfall were scattered throughout the slope, mostly less than 2" thick, but some up to 6" deep.  See attached video of hand pit in one of these deeper deposits - failure with moderate force and somewhat rough shear of 2" thick 1F+ wind slab failing ontop of ~4" of 4finger less dense new snow/graupel, ontop of hard melt/freeze crust.  It helped to keep traction on the skin up to link these pockets as much as we could, until we switched to boot crampons higher up in steeper terrain.  We didn't experience any shooting cracks in these wind deposits, tests weren't very concerning, but felt that in a steep isolated area with just the right wind load that a concerning wind slab may exist.

-3°C (27°F) at summit (10,600') at 10:30am, with moderate northerly winds.  

As the east slope was made up of a patch work of melt freeze crust with pockets of shallow fresh wind deposits, which would mean either skiing down quite firm frozen crusts or waiting to see if the crusts would soften but then be faced with sticky wet new snow patches, we opted to ski down the SE Gully, which was much more sheltered from wind.  Here there was a consistent layer of 1-2" of new snow beginning to warm ontop of smooth melt-freeze crust.  At 10:45 this skied quite well from top to bottom with the new snow not warming enough yet to become sticky.  Fans of tiny rollerballs eminated from our turns on the steeper upper slopes, but we were still early enough with not enough new snow to be concerned.              

Low elevation (down to 7,200') mellow almost flat terrain was still quite firm and frozen at 11am.      

Snowpack photos: 
Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
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