Observation Date: 04/05/2020
Mill Point, Tag Alder bowl.
Hot and sunny. A definite transition to spring weather.
New Snow: No New Snow
I found substantially less storm snow at Mill point than I have in other locations in the Bitterroot; even above 8000ft there was only about 14 inches of new storm snow. I dug numerous hand pits on all aspects and found even high northern aspects to be moist all the way to the old snow interface. Under the storm snow I found a variety of different surfaces, ranging from small, old surface hoar on sheltered norths to sun crusts on solar aspects.
The storm slab was well bonded to these old snow surfaces and we observed no natural avalanches in the area, a welcome change from other parts of the range that received much more snow in the last week. Interestingly, the only wet loose activity we observed was on steep, sheltered, high north facing terrain, which began to send off large (20 inch+ diameter) roller balls by mid day. We stuck to low angle terrain and did not observe any slope settlements or cracking.
I was far less spooked in this area of the Bitterroot than I have been farther north and closer to the Idaho border. It is probably a good bet right now to shop around a little and find an area of the range that received less snow rather than more in the last few days. With a substantial spring warmup forecast for this week, I’d imagine that things are going to get pretty lively. It really felt like spring today, even up high, although north facing terrain was still powder.
Observer: Adam Pohl