Observation Date: 11/21/2015
St. Marys peak, Bitterroot mountains.
Toured up the summer trail onto the SE ridge up to the top. Pit location was at 8,800 ft on the shoulder above E bowl. Skied low angle trees on SE aspect. Low coverage but good skiing above 8,000ft where wind has transported snow lower into the trees.
Clear. No precipitation. New snow – 30cm. Air temp – 22 degrees f.
Light-Moderate WNW winds, gusting to Strong. Snow transport. Signs of recent wind loading on SE to NE aspects.
New Snow: 6-12″
No natural avalanche activity observed.
We dug a pit at 8,800ft on a wind loaded E aspect above the E bowls on St. Marys. Height of Snow was 105cm. Generally the snow seemed to be bonded fairly well. The bottom 15cm of the snowpack is 1F melt-freeze crust with 50cm of 4F snow on top of it. We did observe a weak faceted layer, most likely buried near-surface facets at about 65cm above the ground (40cm below the surface) and although when it failed it was a fairly clean Q2 it was not failing consistently in tests and was not propagating. (CT23 Q2, ECTN).
Observer: Brian Martens