Observation Date: 01/04/2020
Approximately Northern Sapphire Range/SE Rattlesnake Range
Windy, mid 20’s – low 30’s F, alternately low to moderate visibility, snow flurries and graupel.
Windy, but max gusts observed were ~40 MPH, contrasted with the 80 MPH forecasted
None observed, but visibility was mostly very poor.
Performed an ECT on a due east aspect at 6,000 ft elevation. Observed coarse unconsolidated sugary facets on the bed surface; a stout, thick ice crust at 25 cm above bed surface; the Dec 29 buried surface hoar layer at 67 cm above bed surface; and a total snow depth of 130 cm – 140 cm.
ECT12N, with a subsequent fracture at 22. Neither crack fractured beyond the width of the shovel blade, and neither fractured on either of the layers of concern. Snow was apparently of an even, soft but dense/consolidated, fairly high-SWE consistency down to the deeper ice crust. Decent but heavy pow from a skier’s perspective. Overall, more stable pit results than expected, but we never even considered going into the 30’s given the recent Missoula Avy forecast, storm activity, and avalanche fatalities.
Observer: George Gaines