Mt Downs, NE aspect - Strong winds, variety of surface conditions
Signs of Unstable Snow
I toured up to about 9600′ or so on Mt Downs today in the June lake region. I was hoping to observe the distribution of melt-freeze crusts and with any luck find some shelter from the Very strong winds today.
I traveled on mostly north and northeast aspects and observed a variety of surface crusts throughout my tour today. Melt-freeze crusts ranging from thin “zipper” crusts to 5 cm p hard and fully supportable were commonplace up to around 9000′ even in shaded and protected areas. It is worth noting that MF crusts were more sporadic in distribution between 8500′ and 9000′.
New snow from the brief storm last Tuesday ranged from a trace at lower elevations up to 4″ at mid-elevations. average coverage seemed to be in the 2″ range
I dug a pit at 9300′ on a NE aspect. HS =73 cm. Not much to report here other than, with the exception of the top 2″, the entire snowpack right side up faceted to some degree. No concerns today, but if we see a significant load added to this snowpack things could get interesting.
Today’s extreme winds were leading to some transport at all elevations today but no concerning deposition zones were observed. Thin areas of wind stiffened snow were observed near treeline. Crusts averaged 2-3 cm in depth.
Some flagging was observed along the crest and areas in the alpine along the 395 today.
Overall coverage is getting quite thin in this area with wide swaths of dry ground, exposed obsticals, and snow depths around 15-20 cm below 8500′ and a max measured depth of 80 cm.
Extreme , W
The big weather input for me today was the extreme winds out of the west. although the crest was enveloped in clouds for the majority of the day and sporadic flurries made an appearance this morning. Precip seemed to increase this afternoon as I returned to mammoth. Temperatures remained below freezing with highs in the mid 20°s for me today.