San Joaquin Ridge - Very strong winds

San Juaquin Ridge to Deadman Pass
Submission Info
Thursday, December 31, 2020 - 12:00pm
Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
37° 41' 8.5272" N, 119° 4' 3.1476" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

We skinned out the San Juaquin Ridge today to Deadman's Pass.  Very strong NE winds near tree line and above stripping snow out of the northerly facing terrain and depositing dense new slabs on leeward side of terrain features and slopes.  See attached video and attached photo of new small cornice on west facing slope.  Some minor cracking in new deposits, and small isoalted pockets up to 8-10" deep failed in steep northerly facing terrain just below ridgeline.  Most exposed areas showed evidence of back and forth deposition and stripping from the constantly shifting strog winds over the last couple of days. We saw old raised ski and skin tracks on many slopes in the area.  We didn't dig in this highly wind-effected terrain, but did dig in a more sheltered location just below tree line on a NNW facing slope and found a suprisingly deep snowpack - 135cm, with a suprisingly stable structure and test results.  See attached profile.  Important to remember how spatially variable the snow pack can be, and that this is one point and may not be representative of the steeper slopes above.  Probing while traveling thru the trees near 9000', the snowpack was consistently deeper than anywhere else we've seen so far this season at similar elevations.  We skied a couple of laps down north facing terrain in the low to mid 30° range, and didn't experience any collapsing or cracking on the weak buried facets that have been reported in many areas of the forecast zone recently.          

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
small cornice formation - ridge top of west facing slope
Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
50% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Gale Force
Wind Direction: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

Cold day in the shade! ~20*F around noon at 9000'.

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