Snow conditions, surface warming in the June Lake backcountry

Submission Info
Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - 12:30pm
Red Flags: 
Rapid warming
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

It was a very warm day today as I toured to the top of the Negatives in the June lake backcountry. Immediately after leaving the boundary at the top of J7 I noticed surface snow was moist and sticky on the NW facing gladded slope making for a slow traverse along the ridge to the Hourglass. Yesterday’s strong NE winds had quite the impact on the Hourglass stripping it down to the old slick surface snow, and I also observed some impressive sastrugi in this area. Reaching the top of the negatives around 130 pm, the temperature was 33° at 11100,’ and a steady, moderate wind was blowing from the NE.  I decided to descend via the center gully. The top of the negatives is scoured down to the old surface, which is hard and chattery. After about 200’ or so of this, I was pleased to find that the surface conditions in the heart of the gully were right-side-up, well-bonded, soft powder snow. I did not observe any concerning wind slab along my descent, and I found new snow totals ranging from 20-50 cm deep with the larger totals in depressions and catchment zones. While I found cold and dry snow in the shaded northerly aspects, the strong sun today was effecting solar aspects heavily. I observed many fans of rollerballs and a distinct shine on more southerly facing slopes. Skinning back to the resort, I observed the top 5-10 cm or so of the surface to be saturated on the NW facing slopes at around 9500’. In addition, 20-25 cm of new snow in shaded areas had condensed to 10-15 in sunny areas.  While I did not kick on any slopes steep enough to initiate any loose wet avalanches, several informal tests indicated the potential was there. 

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

Very warm temps today with clear skies and mostly light winds out of the north. As I gained elevation the wind speed increased to moderate and limited amounts of blowing snow were observed.

1100-7600’ 46°F calm clear

120pm@11100’ 33°F mod NE winds Clear

2pm@9200’41°F Light NE winds clear

310@7600’ 51°F calm Clear

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