Rock Creek and Red Mtn - Calm to light wind, conditions

Rock creek and Red Mtn
Submission Info
Sunday, February 17, 2019 - 12:30pm
37° 31' 21.8244" N, 118° 44' 5.6868" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Parked at Rock Creek snowpark, got a friendly snowmobile lift from the rock creek folks a mile up the rd, and did a lap in the east facing treed slope above the rd.  Evidence of south winds cross loading this slope from previous days, melt-freeze crust evident to the top of this slope at 9800'.  Hand pits, culumn tests, and stomps resulted in little concern on this slope.  See attached profile for pit structure and test results.  Worth paying attention to the layer under the rain crust, as it may become weaker. Rain crust was 43cm down at 9650'.  At ~9200' it was only ~8" down, and could feel it when turning.  Challenging skinning over crust where overlying snow was thin.  Quite nice skiing.  

From here we went back down rd, headed back up ridge and then up the gentle south ridgeline to the summit of Red Mtn.  Lots of wind effects, especially in more exposed areas, with some full-on sastrugi at times.  Most concerning sign of instability we saw all day was in a treed area along ridge on tiny west facing slope that dinner plated as we skinned by ~2inch thick wind deposit. (see attached photo).  We stopped to check out some of the east facing chutes along the way, and found some huge cornices (see attached photos).  Wouldn't want to accidentaly wander ontop of one of these!  Especially with the cliffy terrain underneath.  The snow in these easy facing gullies looked pretty nice from above, but it was also likely loaded in more heavily and be more likely to have concerning wind deposits.  Tomorrow with more morning sunshine expected, warming on east facing terrain could add concerns.  some heavy stomps on firm wind deposited snow on the convex entries to some of these chutes didn't lead to any failures.  

the north facing slopes appeared to be much more heavily wind-effected than the east slopes and indeed they were.  Ski cuts, stomps, hand pits and test pits on wind-loaded features again led to no concerning results.  Turns were better in the scalloped textured surface snow that had been stripped by the wind rather than the areas of varying thickness wind deposits that were varying levels of breakableness.  

-Pit at 10,600', North facing, 29°:  Top 15cm fist snow ontop of dense 1F wind deposit down atleast 70cm.  CT19Q2 20cm down, CT26Q2 36cm down, ECTN21 ~20cm down (very rough irregular fracture not more than shovel blade width), ECTN23 ~36cm down (again very rough irregular fracture barely extending beyond a shovel width).

8400' and below there was a surpisingly little amount of new soft snow ontop of the thick raincrust ... ~6" of dust on crust.  

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
More detailed information about the weather: 

Calm winds all day, with occasional light gusts out of the south at the ridgetop ~11,600'.  No moving snow anywhere.  Day started fully cloudy and cold, and around noon clouds began thinning revealing some blue skies.  Quite a beautiful day with sunshine and partly cloudy skies, and despite the cold temps (-10°C to -12°C from mid morning to mid afternoon between 9600' and 11,600'), felt quite nice with barely any wind.    

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