February 1, 2015

Public Observation: McHugh Peak area

Bear Valley to the broad west ridge of McHugh Peak.

Temp: Low 30’s @ 2000 ft @ 3 PM
Wind: Calm
Sky: Clear
Precip: none

Obvious Signs Of Instability:
Recent Avalanches- NO
Cracking- Mostly localized cracking around skis on wind loaded areas. Some shooting cracks, mostly around skis, some propagating with stomping.
Collapsing- NO

Surface Obs:
1,500-2,000’- Surface hoar averaging 1cm widespread in Bear Valley. Little or no snow accumulation.
2,000-2,500’- 4-8″ of old powder, or nothing, or ice, or windslab. Some sun crust forming on southwest aspects.

Snow below the surface:
Dug 1 pit around 2800’ on a Southwest Aspect (@ approximately 61 degrees, 3 minutes; 149 degrees, 41 minutes, 20 seconds), angle = ~30 degrees. Top 4″ or so is new snow and surface facets. Beneath that is a knife hard crust about 2″ thick. Beneath that crust is about 4″ of NASTY facets. Then more alternating layers of crusts and facets and equilibrium snow. 1-2mm facets growing at the ground. CT failed on isolation on the uppermost nasty facet layer. The column couldn’t even hold itself together, the facets came pouring out like table salt when I started digging the pit. ECTP 4.

Though the slope was low angle, and had fresh tracks on it, we did not ski the slope.

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