Variation in recent wind-transport on Laurel Mountain

North Face of Laurel Mountain
Submission Info
Saturday, April 15, 2017 - 2:30pm
Red Flags: 
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
North Face of Laurel Mountain 37° 34' 59.7216" N, 118° 53' 38.0904" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

I observed cold (non-melt-freeze-effected) surface snow in the 10800 to 11800 ft. elevation range on the North Face of Laurel Mountain during the 2:30 to 3:30 PM time period today (Apr. 15).  All of the top-layer of snow on the North Face was clearly wind-effected, presumably deposited/transported with the storm on Apr. 14.  There was marked variation, however, between the East vs. West sides of the face re. the firmness of this new snow and re. its propensity to separate from the very firm layer of snow further below.

Toward the West side of the face: the new snow was more wind-hammered (harder) and didn't separate easily from the even harder layer below; higher on the slope there was less of it---approx. 1-2 in. deep---vs. lower where there were some hard 'drifts'---approx. 4-6 in. deep.

Toward the East side: the new snow was softer and easily separated from the harder layer below; it was relatively uniformly deep---approx. 4 in.

On my ascent, I identified the different surface snow conditions toward the East side of the face when I toured onto them (from the West, lower on the slope) without recognizing the softer, semi-coherent slab at first and, when preparing to make a kick turn, the area immediately below my skis (approx. 12 in. down-slope x the length of my skis across-slope x approx. 4 in. deep) cracked and, when I stepped away from the turn, slid away easily.  (I found the boundary between East-side vs. West-side surface conditions to be easier to visually identify further up-slope.)

On my descent, I intentionally made one turn into the edge of the softer, semi-coherent slab toward the East side of the face (near its top) and this immediately triggered a very small slab release (though larger than the inadvertent release triggered during my ascent, this one having an area approx. the length of my skis square x approx. 4 in. deep).

(I did not observe any roller balls, wet-loose slide activity, etc. in this elevation range in this location today.)

Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
Wind Speed: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 

ESAC receives support from ...