Surface facets and solar warming around Duck Pass

Duck Pass
Submission Info
Volunteer Observer
Thursday, February 13, 2020 - 5:00pm
Duck Pass 37° 33' 31.3164" N, 118° 57' 48.2832" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Went for a tour out to Duck Pass hoping for spring skiing conditions on the south side and for soft surface facets on the way back.  

It was a warm bluebird day with only very light S winds.  

N facing treed slopes above 9000' consisted of soft surface facets that skiied pretty well.  W, E, and low angle N slopes generally consisted of a thin melt freeze (MF) crust.  We found 3-5cm 1 finger hard wind slab over facets draped on both sides of some of the N trending tighter gulleys that broke into 2-3' plates.  These might be problematic if you found one over a cliff or open water and weren't expecting it.  

The above treeline N, E, and NE facing terrain around duck pass is severly wind etched (see photo on the Barney Lake Headwall).  We skied similar conditions as shown on the descent from duck pass heading north back to the car.  The smooth wind board was mostly supportable and provided easy consistent edging.  The wind scalloped snow consisted of small facets that was not necessarily fun or easy to ski, but softer and more forgiving to navigate than it looked from afar.  

We skied the low angle SE facing terrain from Duck Pass down to Duck Lake at noon.  At that time, SE facing slopes had already developed a thin MF crust after earlier moistening/softening.  Perhaps 11am would have been the time.  We found a more directly S facing slope that at 1pm provided soft fun pseudo-corn skiing.  The snowpack is thin here with lots of exposed rocks to ski around.  There were no inidications of loose wet instabilities on the slopes we skiied or any other solar aspects we saw.  Interestingly, this 3-5cm moistened surface snow was the top of a 15cm MF crust under which was loose dry facets (see video).  It may feel like and ski like spring on the southern slopes, but there is still a winter snowpack down below.  

Snowpack photos: 
Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 
Weather Observations
More detailed information about the weather: 

0952: 9460', 0C, clear sky, calm S winds

1100: 10,100', +2C, clear sky, calm/light S winds

1330: 10,900', +2C, clears sky, calm S winds

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