There were plenty of signs of instability today. Precipitation rates were high all day with periods of 2″+ inches an hour. Winds were strong out of the southwest and significant amounts of snow were being redistributed even below treeline. The snowpack was somewhat upside down, (particularly in areas touched by the wind) and shooting cracks and localized collapsing were observed basiclly anywhere approaching 30° even small test slopes. I conducted several hand pits and all of them failed under isolation 6-10″ from the surface.
We dutifully avoided avalanche terrain today and turned around as the extreme winds started to challenge our balance and the slabby nature of the snowpack felt unsettling. Honestly, moving through the backcountry today was challenging and at times, unpleasant. While there is plenty of good snow to be found out there, terrain steep enough to slide on would likely have been hazardous in our location and the weather this afternoon provided us with more than enough adventure.
Strong winds this morning seemed to increase throughout the day and by the afternoon extreme winds were creating whiteout conditions even in sparsely treed areas at lower elevations. Heavy precipitation prevailed all day with accumulation rates of 2+’ and hour at times. Temperatures remained well below freezing. I expected to see precip rates and wind speeds begin to drop this afternoon but at this location however both seemed to intensify as the day went on.Close