On a northeast aspect at 10,680 feet, I triggered a very small hard slab on a test slope. The slab had been deposited by westerly winds last week. The weak layer was large facets.
Slab: P hard, 2-4 inches thick.
Weak Layer: 2-3mm FCs.
Slope: 30 degrees, very small test slope.
We braved the bush and buried rocks to get some early-season snowpack info from the Rock Creek drainage.
The snow is shallow and coverage is poor, which was our primary hazard.
We did trigger a hard slab on a test slope. Large facets made up the weak layer that failed.
Almost the entire snowpack in this drainage consists of well-developed faceted grains.
We moved slowly traveling on roads and trails. Obstacles abound and the weak snowpack isn’t giving any cushion under your feet. I wouldn’t recommend Rock Creek for more than a cross-country ski until the snow is deeper.
The Rock Creek Weather Station Peaked at 45*F at 1pm
Calm , NE
A few high hazy clouds. Temps rose above freezing quickly in the morning and stayed warm all day. Mostly calm wind with a few Light gusts from the northeast.
Snow depths ranged from 15cm below 9500 feet to 35cm at 10680 feet.
The snowpack is anchored by rocks, logs, and brush except in couloirs and the tops of alpine bowls.
SE, S, and SW aspects have mostly melted out. The snow on these aspects was covered by a melt-freeze crust in the morning that thawed to moist melt forms in the afternoon.
NW, N, and NE aspects had the most coverage. The entire snowpack on these aspects was made up of 2-4mm, F hard, facets. I even found 4-6mm chained depth hoar near the ground.
On E and NE aspects near and above treeline there are some wind-hardened surfaces atop the facets. These range from thin wind crusts to 4-6 inch thick hard slabs where we traveled.
We moved slowly utilizing roads and trails. We did have to ski down a little ways from our high point and the weak snowpack provided no protection from the rocks and logs just under the surface.