Looking at the Bishop skyline this morning, noticed a number of mid-storm point releases that ran through a majority of the couloirs in the headwalls of the East Gully and Elderberry Canyon on Mt. Tom. They looked to have run upwards of 1000vert or perhaps more. I did not see any crowns or evidence of slab activity on Mt Tom.
Headed up to the Gibbs Lake area just south of Lee Vining canyon today to check on how much new snow fell in the northern part of the zone. Lower elevations have very minimal snow coverage and 1-2 new inches below 9000ft. My initial though to ski some north facing trees off the lower east shoulder of East Peak diminished when I saw how thin coverage was and where there actually is deeper snow, it’s so faceted that I was afraid of log and rock strikes while skiing. Proceeded up to Gibbs Lake and ventured up some NE terrain above the lake. Did not see any slab avalanche activity or significant natural avalanches in the Gibb/Kidney Lake area. Again, just a few mid-storm point releases that had run down confined couloirs. Gibbs Lake itself at 9500ft had around 15cm of new snow and as I ascended up some couloir type terrain found anywhere from 20-40cm of very light low density powder. New snow was even deeper where cross loaded off the walls of the chute and in some places was close to 45cm in depth. The old snow surface was very firm and smooth, the new snow being so light, it was easy to sweep off the interface, but it had no propensity to slide or slough even on ski cuts and aggressive ski turns on 40deg slope angles. I did not find any new snow in the chute that was remotely firmer than soft Fist hardness snow. The only firmer 4F snow I found was cross loaded drifts sitting on top of ridgeline behind tree islands at 10500ft. This zone did not look to have received to much wind impacts or effects, atleast below 11000ft.
NE Winds were bannering snow off the high summits with the ceiling looking to be up near 12000ft. I made it up to 11000ft and there was just a very light northerly breeze that was not affecting the snow at all. Bannering snow from the NE winds was apparent all day along the entire range as I drove the 395 corridor. Although the solar input was intense, temperatures at 11000ft at 130pm was 17F. Down at 9500 at the lake it was 28F and snow was starting to be slightly impacted by the sun. New snow in sheltered and shaded areas today remained cold and light, and even though thin and faceted, snow in the trees still provides enough support to make your way through carefully and slowly without too much problem. E-NE Winds haven’t seemed to be as extreme as forecasted, but perhaps the ceiling is just relatively high and of course windy at Mammoth Mtn per usual.