Minor surface warming in the Wine Glass couloir

Wine Glass Couloir
Submission Info
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 - 11:30am
Red Flags: 
37° 32' 4.4412" N, 118° 48' 19.7712" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Temperatures were quite warm this morning, I measured 46°f at 830 this morning as I pulled into the McGee creek trailhead.

I decided to head to the wine glass couloir today to see how more northerly aspects are faring during our current warm conditions. As it turns out I could have left the skins in the car, I walked on mostly dry ground until I hit the apron where I almost immediately put crampons on and began the climb up the stem. The sun hit the couloir around 10 am and surface conditions were very hard and slick for my climb. Strong ridgetop winds kept surface snow from warming extensively at upper elevations and I waited until around noon for conditions to soften enough for a reasonable descent. While things were edge-able and enjoyable for my descent, I was still a bit early. Dropping closer to 1 pm may have been preferable.

My focus today was on the potential for slide for life conditions and I did not observe any signs of instability in the morning hours. Other pertinent observations from my tour today are focused on the overall thin coverage, both at lower elevations as well as in the alpine. It is still possible to link snow from top to bottom, but the upper headwall is becoming quite thin and many rocks are exposed limiting the options for a descent. lower elevations and southerly aspects in the McGee Creek drainage are mostly melted out, at least further down the drainage. I suspect the coverage is better as you make your way towards the crest but our transition from winter to summer is occurring very quickly.

In addition, I observed the snowpack here is still transitional with about 5-10 cm of melt forms on the surface above a consolidated mass of cold snow below. I suspect if I had been here in the late afternoon ski conditions may become punchy and much more challenging.

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

Strong alpine winds kept things feeling chilly despite the very warm temperatures today. Partly cloudy skies this morning made way for full sun by mid-day.

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