Observation Date: 02/25/2018
Up west aspect from Swamp creek, several runs on West, East, South and North aspects from the middle and North summits.
Only 6″ or so of storm snow, but wind and additional precip were coming in late in the day.
New Snow: 3-6″
I made a few observations during a long tour on Morrell in the South Swans. During the approach, I was surprised to hear a lot of collapsing and was getting shooting cracks, so I dug a hasty low elevation pit (5,500 feet, E facing in the trees). The problematic layer was a thin layer of facets 20 cm down, about 5 cm above the early February rain crust. I did a few CT tests, and was getting CT5 Q1 results on the layer. I think this problematic layer was confined to the rain crust elevation (below 6,500 feet), because I did not hear any collapsing up higher. I also dug a pit at 7,300 feet to assess the new snow in the starting zone of the Southwest facing avalanche path I had hoped to ski. I only dug down 80 cm. There was a thin ice crust at 60 cm, which was failing cleanly in compression (CT 15 Q1), but was not propogating across an extended column (ECT 25N). I felt OK skiing the slope. The other obvious hazard today was the new snow, which was predictably forming sensitive slabs. I felt comfortable skiing everything except steep East facing windloaded terrain.
Observer: Brian Story