Natural Avalanche Activity-Laurel Mtn/Collapsing in Hippy Trees, West side McGee Mtn

Skiers Right trees adjacent to Hippy Bowl
Submission Info
Thursday, January 10, 2019 - 2:30pm
Red Flags: 
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
37° 33' 53.244" N, 118° 50' 6.3204" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

From the parking lot at Convict Lake I noticed avalanche activity on the East Face of Laurel Mountain at the top of the Mendenhall couloir. Multiple loose snow point releases and a cornice drop had started from the upper reaches of the mountain and had slid down gully features further triggering storm slabs up to 2-3' deep (L/SS-N-R1-D2-3'-3000 vert). Debris, although not significant in volume, ran down on to the aprons above the summer Convict Creek trail.  There was significant surface hoar growth adjacent to Convict Lake, but none was not observed at higher elevations.

Toured up to the Mini Morrison area via the standard up route, avoiding the gully/terrain trap beneath the east gullies on Mini Morrison to access the NW facing tree glades adjacent to Hippy Bowl.  Multiple D.5-1 point release avalanches had run during yesterdays storm from narrow gullies on the east face of Mini Morrison, but not from the main larger east gullies that are typically skied. These loose snow avalanches looked as though they also had triggered small storm slabs adjacent to the base of cliffs, but again small in size and volume. In the NW facing tree glades we experienced 2 large collapses that shook adjacent trees and the snow surface visibly dropped several inches in our localized area. We did not observe any shooting cracks in relation to these snow collapses. Moderate results on stability tests were found in our pit. (see attached snowprofile). We skied in these lower angle glades and found excellent snow quality with fairly significant loose snow sluffing on terrain steeper than 30 degrees. (see photos). HNS was ~20cm from yesterday/last night. HS averaged 115-130 in the NW facing trees.

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Air temperature trend: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

Dead calm day and clear bright blue skies. -3 degrees C at 10,300ft at 230pm. Truly a superb day in the Sierra today. 


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