San Joaquin Ridge- Terrible conditions- lack of snow

the office
Submission Info
Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 11:30am
37° 41' 16.638" N, 119° 3' 53.2728" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Clear skies this morning gave way to some high light cloud formation with some very cool patterns by early afternoon. There was a solid 30mph west wind on the San Joaquin Ridge, but overall it felt warm with solar aspects warming up a bit and softening by mid-day.  Unfortunately I’d have to say that the “office” zone of the San Joaquin ridge is officially off my menu until we get new snow. Conditions overall on the ridge (~10,000ft) and into the east facing cirques is just awful.  The top of the ridge is nearly bare with open dirt patches in the snow machine route. The snowfields are almost gone, with most surfaces composed of sastrugi and filled with wind transported pumice. The steeper northerly terrain dropping off the ridge to the east is composed of well-developed sastrugi in the starting zones (10,200ft) with boiler plate wind board in the throat of most of the tighter couloir terrain features. The only soft surfaces (9200ft) in the “office” were in the bottom of the forested terrain which offered 10-15 turns at most. I guess I’m about reaching my threshold both in risk and patience with this terrible season, especially compounded on top of last winter’s horrible 2 month stretch of drought. Great to be out in the mountains, that is a blessing always, but I can count on one hand how many days on the Eastside this season where one could actually ski a full uninterrupted run in the backcountry. Everyday has been more of a walk so to speak with a few turns here and there.

There is nothing going on in relation to avalanches and hasn’t been for quite some time. We can barely say we have a snowpack honestly. Let’s hope things turn around otherwise it’s going to be another very smoky summer filled with disgruntled snow enthusiasts.

Snowpack photos: 
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