warm, moist surface conditions in the Sherwins

Mirkwood Trees
Submission Info
Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 1:30pm
Red Flags: 
37° 36' 32.454" N, 118° 58' 23.9016" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

It was a warm afternoon in the Sherwins today.  Leaving the propane tanks midday, it was painfully obvious how much snow we have lost in the last week or so. Many patches of dry ground are visible, abandoned dog poop is reemerging, and the exposed sagebrush on the morainal features are multiplying. I skinned to 9500’ and descended in a zone known as the Mirkwood trees. Surface conditions were mostly supportable and consisted mainly of melt-freeze crusts in a distinct “melt” faze. In some less supportable areas ski pen was about 15 cm and boot pen was boot top. Although at most I observed 2cm or so of moist snow on top.  Below this the snow is largely faceted, loose, and dry. On my ascent I noted many areas around big trees where things have melted out to ground level and similarly to the moraines below lots of small plants, rocks and fallen trees are now prominently out of the snow. while significant globbing occurred on my skins as I climbed, descending was only moderately sticky.  The supportable nature of the snow coupled with the soft moist surface made for predictable and enjoyable turns. On my descent, I observed many freshly fallen trees from the high winds we had this past weekend. I did not observe any signs of instability on my tour today, the largest hazard remains the low coverage and the increasing amount of buried or lightly buried ossicles.

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

Temperatures remained above freezing for the entirety of my tour and light to moderate southerly winds and, cloudy skies did little to cool things down this afternoon below tree line.  


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