Observation Date: 03/03/2013
Canyon creek road up Romney ridge to a northerly bowl just west of the second high point.
It was warm and raining pretty good in the valley in the morning, but cooled off and started snowing as we drove up the Canyon Creek trailhead. Cloudy, but with patches of sunshine. Moderate snowfall at times. Windy.
Gusts to 40mph all day. Variable wind direction. There was 8″ of new snow from the previous night’s storm and quite a bit of snow was being transported. It wasn’t really forming obvious wind crusts while we were there. Also, due to the rapidly changing wind direction, no aspectThe compass direction a slope faces i.e. North, South, East, West. seemed to show preferential wind loadingThe addition of weight on top of a snowpack, usually from precipitation, wind drifting, or a person..
New Snow: 6-12″
Snow DensityThe mass of snow per unit volume, but often expressed as a percent water content. New fallen powder has a low densityThe mass of snow per unit volume, but often expressed as a percent water content. New fallen powder has a low density (3-10%), while heavy or wet snow is more dense (10-20%). (3-10%), while heavy or wet snow is more dense (10-20%).:
We dug a pit at just under 8000″ on a north aspectThe compass direction a slope faces i.e. North, South, East, West.. The new snow was quite light, dry, and unconsolidated and was sluffing from the pit wall easily. Obvious layers included the new snow interface at 16cm, and a deeper interface at 60cm. The 60cm layer failed at ECT22N. As predicted, when skiing steeper lines, the new snow sluffed easily. These sluffs would be large enough to cause trouble if not managed.
The rain events of the last few days have not been kind to the lower elevation snowpack. While above the 6000′ rain line the snow is very good, below it the pack has saturated and then frozen on top, leaving a strong but breakable crustA crust is a hard layer of snow where liquid water has refrozen into grain fabric. Crusts usually result from sun, rain or wind. underlain by very heavy and very weak slush. Turning was difficult, as was keeping the tips above the crustA crust is a hard layer of snow where liquid water has refrozen into grain fabric. Crusts usually result from sun, rain or wind., and there were many places where one could just fall into strange void spaces caused by bushes and such. These were some of the most difficult travel conditions we had ever experienced. If the low elevation snowpack doesn’t regain some cohesiveness, consider alotting a bit of extra time in your tour for dealing with this.
Observer: Doug Brinkerhoff