Traveling around Mini-Morrison - Massively wind affected and thin

Morrison Col
Submission Info
Monday, January 6, 2020 - 2:00pm
Red Flags: 
37° 33' 45.8172" N, 118° 51' 11.6064" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Circumnavigated Mini-Morrison today to check if sunny skies and warmer temperatures over the last few days have resulted in any kind of loose-wet instability.  The answer is none, not at all.  No evidence of any kind of loose point releases on any aspect from 7500' up to 12,000'.  Perhaps there would be a chance of this if all the slopes weren't totally hardened by wind.  Found out as well how thin the snowpack is getting and how completely wind-hammered everything exposed is at all aspects and elevations.  No signs of instability what-so-ever.  Greatest concern is very firm surfaces and breakable crusts.  Slopes with even slight southern exposure are very thin if not bare.  

-@10,200' on a SE facing slope @ 1:30pm - top 10cm of snowpack was moist above 20cm of faceted grains above the ground.    

The most interesting thing I came across was mid-way up the Morrison Col. Large swaths of the E facing slope was a fractured mess of firm wind board ontop of shallow 4finger hard snow above the ground.  Very strange looking indeed.  It looks like some of this fractured mess was the slope becoming unsupportable on its own, and some was fractured apart by a a small avalanche,  A windslab and/or cornice on an ENE facing ridge above this slope had failed sometime during the wind events in the past week, as large chunks of debris could be seen just below the ridge, and further down slope where it was fractured.  See attached pics.  

I'm reluctant to call this a "ski-tour" as only ~2/3 of the time was spent on skis.  I Booted up and down most of the moraine, and booted up portions of the eastern side of the Morrison Col.  Skiing down thru the Morrison Col was a mix of very firm, breakable, and even some patches stipped down to an icy layer.  Wouldn't recommend this tour at all right now.  Fingers crossed for more snow in coming weeks!    

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

Blue skies with not a cloud, and zero wind even at the Morrison Col at 10,850'.  

Air temps: 12:00pm, 8000' = 3°C; 2:15pm, 10,850' = 2°C; 3:15pm, 7,500' = -0.5°C.



-- placeholder --

ESAC receives significant financial support from ...