the weather was quite pleasant today with mostly clear skies light winds out of the west and cool temperatures right around freezing.
I ascended Old Man’s bowl on Mono Jim Peak from the winter closure at Convict lake today to get a survey of the area and how the strong winds have affected less sheltered terrain.
Coverage is minimal but sufficient ascending the moraine to Tobacco flats. much of the snowpack at the lower elevations is unconsolidated and punchy with quite a bit of sagebrush still poking through the surface. This trend continued as I made my way up to the base of Old Man’s bowl. Additionally, there are wide swaths of open talus, stripped bare by our recent extreme winds. Overall the coverage is better in Old Mans Bowl proper, albeit still wind affected. I found surface conditions to range from a very thin wind skin to a stiff supportable windboard. overall sliding conditions were pleasant but care was required to navigate the variable surface conditions and thin coverage.
I observed a couple of significant debris piles along my ascent. While I was not able to see any other signs of avalanche activity (crown line, flanks etc) I suspect the avalanches likely broke during the loading event earlier this week and likely ran around d2 in size.
I dug in on an NNE aspect at 10500 ft in an area where I confirmed the presence of old Oct/Nov Snow. in this location I found 150 cm of snow with a fairly condensed slab of New snow sitting on top of a weak bed of large-grained facets. Stability tests confirmed the poor structure of the snowpack and the propagation propensity of the weak layer. (see pit description for more information)