Weak, punchy snow on north aspect at 5000-6000’. Supportive rain crust with a few inches on top and overall low snow conditions with 2-3 feet at 6000’-7000’.
Observed several debris piles on north and west aspects from rain event on 1/13. Recent wind affected snow and sun warming pin rolls on sunny aspects.
We dug a pit at 7000’ on a NW aspect. Total HS was 110 cms, a slab 2-3 feet deep of alternating layers (5-6)of rain/solar crusts sandwiched by weaker snow rested on weak snow near the ground. The columns failed on the weak sugary snow after a lot of force in our stability tests, but it was the entire slab breaking near the ground. Classic low probability, high consequence conditions.
Given the persistent weak layer lurking in north facing terrain, dust on crust, and low snow conditions, we choose to ski low angle terrain and stayed clear of wind affected snow. We noted surface hoar development on any wind sheltered terrain.
We saw snowmobilers riding below cornices, over many logs, rocks, and shrubs in impressive fashion. Be careful out there in the thin conditions!
FPAC Board member