March 11, 2022
March 11, 2022
Chris Engelhardt | ESAC Forecaster
Zone or Region:
Mammoth Crest-recent storm snow bonding well to old surfaces
Stability Rating: Very Good
Confidence in Rating:
Stability Trend: Steady
- Headed up to the Mammoth Crest today under beautiful clear skies and mild temperatures with sporadic light breezes at higher elevations.
- Low sheltered north facing aspects are still holding cold soft snow from this weeks little storms.
- Northwest aspects below tree line are holding sun and or temperature crusts at the surface.
- Easterly aspects near tree line were becoming moist at 1100am which made for glopping skins.
- Open snowfields at 10500ft on northeasterly terrain harbored spatially variable surface conditions from soft textured “orange peel” that was Fist-hardness and from 10-20cm deep. These softer areas of snow were intermixed with panels of firmer wind board also 10-20cm deep and 1Finger in hardness. The firmer wind board was residing on top of residual fist hardness new snow or older faceted surfaces giving a somewhat upside down nature in some areas. These panels of wind slab when isolated for hand shears did produce some clean and easy shears, but there were no propagating cracks, collapsing or signs of significant instability.
- The bulk of the snowpack at 10500ft was of top down nature and averaged from 180 to 210cm in depth. Probing as we skinned up slope I did not identify any firm layers or areas of significantly looser snow underlying the upper majority of the pack.
- The most recent snow is bonding well for the most part to old surfaces and we did not encounter any signs of instability.
- A few cross-loaded small wind slabs of TV tray size slid off old faceted surfaces near rock outcroppings, I imagine you could find some of these precariously loaded wind slabs in extreme terrain or on granite shelfs and slab where there is weak faceted old snow residing on rock beneath the new thin wind slabs.
- The spatial variability and areas of fairly advanced faceted snow made us weary of what may happen if this snowpack saw a big load deposited upon it. We likely would see some good avalanche activity. I hope we do.
- Upper northerly facing terrain in couloirs and chutes was tremendously wind stripped and exhibited boiler plate conditions.