Wednesday, January 1, 2020 - 11:00am
We toured out of the Sherwin Tanks parking lot passing the base of Tele-bowls on our way up to solitude canyon. Temperatures were warm and sunny, and snow was heavy, wet and sticky (see photos). In the shade snow quality was still fairly cool although it was warming with the winds. Snow conditions continued to be wet and sticky in the sun up to 9,500 feet, and many roller balls and a single small point slide from the hot sunny conditions were seen on South and Southeast facing aspects (see photo). The winds began to pick up around 11:00 and were howling by the time we reached the entrance of Banana Chut with lots of banners and snow transportation along the ridgelines.
Snow in the North-facing, shaded chute was heavier than expected, but stable with no obvious signs of instability even with the strong winds (we dropped the chute around noon). This heavy layer of snow was about 60 cm deep. Coverage was on the thin side, and several buried rocks were hit on the way down.