Negatives and Hemlock Trees Behind June Mtn - Natural avalanches yesterday
Signs of Unstable Snow
Confidence in Rating:
Finally a beautiful blue sky day with very light winds and no visible snow transport!
Rode lifts up June Mtn and headed toward the Hour Glass Couloir. On the way probed the snow at the saddle between June Mtn and the Negatives at 9,670′ and found 215cm total snow depth with 20cm of soft feeling facets above the ground, and crust above that, and 10cm of soft feeling facets above that below the much firmer snow. Boot top boot penetration, top 20cm of snow was very soft fist minus except for a subtle more dense layer 3cm down.
Went up the hourglass couloir (quite firm! But good boot punching with plastic boots … soft snowboard boots would have had a very hard time without a boot pack to follow). Ski crampons could be useful for some on the upper slope near the top of the negatives.
Hand pits in areas of thick dense wind slab failed roughly with hard force.
Lots of wind-scoured ridges
We felt confident with the stability of the widespread robust firm edge-able wind-board and skied a negative chute, and found a couple areas mid-way down on the edges of the chute that had small pockets of noticeably softer wind deposited snow (4finger+) that dinner plated, that could have been concerning for knocking someone off their feet in more consequential terrain.
Saw evidence of two D2 natural avalanches that occurred likely yesterday during strong SW winds. One in exposed high elevation terrain (see separate avalanche observation below), and the other more remarkable below treeline on the western side of Hemlock/Ghost trees, on the western side that was more exposed to wind loading from SW winds. Crowns were mostly filled back in, but were about 100ft wide, and seemed like 6-12″ average depth, with some areas deeper. Click Video links for more view of debris and commentary.