Variable Surface conditions on the SE side of Mt Aggie

Mt Aggie
Submission Info
Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 12:30pm
37° 32' 43.1988" N, 118° 50' 15.5868" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

It was a beautiful day in the McGee creek drainage with warm temperatures, clear skies, and mostly light winds. leaving the trailhead at 930 this morning, the temperature had already warmed enough to make a t-shirt comfortable as long as I kept moving. I made my way to the SE side of mt Aggie, hoping for some soft surface conditions on the more solar aspects.

At about 9500’ I ventured out of the main gully onto an almost directly SE gully feature that harbored interesting snow conditions. On the climber's right side, the terrain was oriented almost due south, and surface conditions were comprised of 15 cm of moist grains on top of the very hard old surface snow.  The climbers left side of the gully has a more NNE aspect, and surface conditions were still dry and cold. Patches of wind board from 5-20 cm thick resided on top of loose unconsolidated facets. In some shaded areas, the old snow surface was on the surface. This slightly yellow snow is very hard and slick, I found it preferable to travel on more recent deposits. Despite the consistent transitions from warm and moist to cold and dry, I did not experience significant glopping on my ascent. Snow depths are variable and seem to be thinning with our recent run of warm days. Periotic probing found total Hight of snow ranging from just a few inches to a little over a meter. 

I topped out at around 11,000’ and began my descent around 1 pm. I was able to link a few turns of soft cold snow in-between areas of breakable wind board on the more northerly shaded aspect, but for the most part, I found the solar aspects to be more consistent and predictable. By the time of my descent, the Melt freeze crust had begun to stiffen up a bit, but surface conditions were still soft.  Despite the strong solar warming observed today, no significant signs of instability were observed on my tour. 

The main gully below 9500’ is getting pretty thin, and navigating the narrow pathways between bushes and exposed rocks was challenging at times. Except for a few dry patches, the trail is mostly snow-covered.  I was able to slide on snow back to the trailhead without too much difficulty.

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

Warm temperatures, clear skies, and light to moderate winds made for a pleasant day today.

1000 @9400' 44°F, light Sw winds, clear skies

1130 @10000' 38°F, Moderate S winds, clear skies

1345 @8200' 48°F, calm winds, clear skies

-- placeholder --

ESAC receives significant financial support from ...