Minaret Vista: Level 1 Avalanche Course, Wind Slab Observations

Submission Info
Monday, February 19, 2018 - 11:30am
Red Flags: 
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
37° 39' 0.4392" N, 119° 2' 53.2716" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Sierra Mountain Guides AIARE 1 course toured around the Minaret Summit Area to looking for evidence of newly formed wind slabs. Most test slopes and kick tests showed newly formed slabs to be stubborn to somewhat touchy to trigger, with at least 1 steep test slope (30 degrees +) propagating about one ski length at a convexity. All test slopes were on NW-N-NE aspects around 9000'. Wind slabs were on specific terrain features such as the leeward side of convexities and were between 20 and 40cm deep with 4F hardness on N and NE aspects. Thinner, smaller deposits were observed on crossloaded S facing slopes (from W wind) at the Vista. New snow amounts as of about noon were between 3 and 4" of light snow available for transport up to 9200'. Most recorded snowpack tests were inconclusive: Q3 CT results and a few ECTNs. A few hand shears in fresh wind deposits did fail cleanly with moderate force. We did not get into exposed or alpine terrain.

Conditions were much warmer and calmer than expected midday. Sky = Scattered to Broken clouds, Winds = Light from the SW then shifting to Light from the W and NW by the early afternoon. Mostly no precip, but very light showers (S-1) started anew as we headed back around 230pm.

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