touchy basal facets in Rock Creek

SNOWPACK OBSERVATION
Rock Creek
Submission Info
Member
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 4:30am
Red Flags: 
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
Rock Creek 37° 28' 17.4936" N, 118° 44' 36.0744" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Toured in Rock Creek today to look at recent wind effects on the snow pack and presence/absence of facets. Pulling into the E Fork parking at 930am, the SW winds were howling over the ridge tops.  Much of the snow being transported at these upper elevations appeared to be sublimating but elevations near treeline had significant amounts of blowing snow. 

During this tour we saw no recent avalanche activity, no cracking and no whumpfing (expect for two whumpfs in a flat, shallow, brushy area). We toured along Rock Creek itself to the winter lodge. We found several patches of open ground and open water in tributaries to Rock Creek. At the winter lodge we crossed over the road and up the east facing moraine to 10,700ft. 

At this elevation, I choose what I thought to be a sheltered, 36 degree slope, NE aspect (see attached snow profile).   HS=135 cm. Ski pen=15. Boot pen=waist deep. In the pit we found a mostly right side up snow profile until the basal facets sitting 40cm above the ground (2mm poorly consolidated). We performed to CT tests here.  The first result was CT2, sudden collapse, failing within the facet layer. The presence of rocks behind this column caused us to repeat the test.  Second result was CT11, sudden collapse within the basal facets. 

Surface conditions were generally shallow and variable.  A mix of sun crust, wind crust and the occasional patch of soft snow. 

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Yes
Cloud Cover: 
Clear
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Moderate
Precipitation: 
None
Air temperature trend: 
Warming
Wind Direction: 
Southwest
Accumulation rate: 
None
More detailed information about the weather: 
-- placeholder --

ESAC receives significant financial support from ...