I ventured up rock Creek today with the hope of evaluating the structure within the upper snowpack and to see if I could find any signs of recent wind slab activity. I ventured above the Iris campground into NE-facing terrain and was pleasantly surprised to find less substantial wind impacts from our recent winds and a small dusting of soft surface snow. It was quickly apparent however that despite the soft surface snow there are still a variety of variable and crusty layers in the upper pack. In areas that receive more solar impact i observed melt freeze crusts up to 3 inches thick and in more open areas i found wind boards of varying thicknesses and supportability.
I also observed some impressive cornice growth along the ridge line. There were also some impressive blocks of debris that indicate recent avalanche and cornice fall activity.
I had been hoping to investigate the upper snowpack in a more open slope feature but given the recent avalanche and subsequent debris fan i chose instead to dig in a sheltered area adjacent to the main path. I found a interesting structure consisting of several facet crust combos in the top meter of snow and saw some reactivity in my stability tests. the most reactive layer was within the top 10 cm or so where a pencil hard wind board was resting on fist hard snow comprised of degrading precip particles and near surface facets. While to shallow to be a major concern in this location at the moment, it did get me thinking about how a new load of snow may interact here. As my dad always says its never to early to start thing about the future. Its worth noting that the rock creek road is still closed near 395 and there is some significant drifting in the narrows.
Mostly cloudy skies prevailed today making for interesting light conditions. Temperatures remained below freezing today and seemed to drop off quickly in the late afternoon. Winds were mostly calm during my tour but the occasional light breeze may have been working to keep things cool.Close