Thin coverage, and isolated instabilities in the Lundy area.

Gillcrest Peak
Submission Info
Thursday, January 23, 2020 - 1:00pm
Red Flags: 
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
38° 0' 39.7512" N, 119° 13' 48.5616" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

I left the car later than I had hoped today in Lundy canyon, leaving the Lundy lake dam at around 11. Clear skies this morning had already been replaced by a thin layer of high-level clouds and temperatures were in the high 30°s. My plan before my delayed start was to head up Deer creek towards Mt Warren.  I decided to head that direction and at least get a look at the peak. A thin but supportable snowpack made for relatively easy skinning I climbed adjacent to the creek. I observed numerous small collapses in this area with localized cracking. At most I saw cracks in the 4-5 ft range. The snowpack was fairly shallow 40-60 cm and showed a poor structure.  (supportable pencil hard crust over loose unconsolidated facets) my suspicion was that I was finding buried sage brush acting as the trigger points.  As the Mt Warren came into view I observed the east face to have a distinct shine, and significant scouring and dry ground on the approach.  I shifted gears and decided to instead climb the east side of Gilcrest peak. The start of my ascent was on a SE facing slope that had a bit of surface warming this morning. I noted the upper 2 cm or so to be damp and had some minor glopping on my skis. I also observed some small roller balls from the past couple of days immediately below a rock outcropping. After rounding back to a proper east aspect the rest of my ascent was uneventful aside from one occasion when I sank waist-deep into loose facets adjacent to a large rock. Periodic probing identified average snowpack depth around a meter deep. Overall the structure seemed consistent with many recent observations. Soft wind affected surface snow residing on top of a stout crust of varying thicknesses which in turn was on top of a relatively soft faceted base. As I got closer to the summit the snowpack got thinner and by 11200’ the mountain was basically bare. After topping out I decided to descend via the East couloir. Surface conditions had a distinctly wind textured feel but for the most part, the skiing was predictable and enjoyable.  I did encounter two stretches where surface conditions were more upside-down and would be best described as trap door wind board. Luckily these sections were short-lived but I was able to trigger several small isolated sheets of wind slab. Nothing large enough to be concerning. As I got to the lower choke around 9500’ I traversed left onto a SE aspect to navigate around the lower cliff band. On this more solar aspect, a firm MF crust (1.5 cm) had formed and ski quality was drastically reduced.   Descending back to the car I found the Deer creek drainage actually skied fairly well. I did find the MF crust to be thicker on solar terrain features and the overall thin coverage added a challenge when it came to navigating through the vegetation, rocks, and fallen trees. 

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
75% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
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