Observation Date: 11/15/2014
Touring around St. Mary’s Peak in the Bitterroot Range
Light west winds today. Evidence of previous loading on east and north aspects.
New Snow: No New Snow
Main concern today was the buried facet layer at high elevations (>8500′ est.). I dug a quick hand colum at 9000′ on a NE bowl and noticed these facets 15″ down under this weeks storm snow slab. The facet layer was roughly 4″ thick. Under the facets were various melt/ freeze crusts. The slab showed to have poor strength on the hand sheer test. Noticed an old crown on part of the main east facing summit bowl.
Observed Danger Rating:
Plenty of stable powder outside of the alpine. As the bowls start to fill in, I definatly plan to dig down and examine where the facets persist. They won’t be everwhere, but where they are the snowpack will possess significantly less strength. I also plan to switch to metric units at some point this season.
Observer: Blake Votilla