I toured out towards Red cone in the Mammoth lakes basin today to get a feel for how our fresh snow is reacting to increased solar inputs and decreasing winds.
Some cold snow was observed on true northerly, shaded aspects near treeline but on anything but true north surface snow was becoming quite moist in areas with sun exposure, and some heinous glopping made for an interesting ascent. Some may have called it a wrestling match, but I tried to embrace the “leg day” and enjoy the platform skinning.
I did not see any natural loose wet activity, but I did see several fans of natural rollerballs on the east-facing slabs above the standard red cone approach as well as on the lake George headwall. I was also able to initiate a couple of very small loose wets on small terrain features. I was also able to initiate a plethora of pinwheels on my descent down an easterly aspect as well as in more NE facing shaded terrain BTL.
Despite yesterday’s extreme north winds largely stripping northerly starting zones back to old snow surfaces, I observed a decent amount of transport along the crest today. Consistent flagging was occurring along the summit of Red cone and along the crest looking south. I wouldn’t say it was an impressive amount of snow moving around but it was consistent.
The only wind deposits I observed today were in the form of very small panels of recent cornice growth along the approach ridge. Kicking on these features I broke loose a couple of areas about 6” in depth and maybe 4’ by 4’ in size. Deposits here are 1F in hardness over 4F snow below.
Skiing out I found surface conditions to be a mixed bag but mostly moist and sticky. A fresh coat of wax would probably help but it was quite slow-moving and I even unlocked to heals to aid in my descent down the groomer from the pack station to tamarack.