Blue Lake Trees

Our goals are lofty, but our ask is simple... We need your help... Click Here to Find Out How

SNOWPACK OBSERVATION
Blue Lake Trees
Submission Info
Forecaster
Monday, December 4, 2017 - 3:45pm
Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
Blue Lake Trees 38° 2' 53.916" N, 119° 16' 25.5864" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

2 to 4 cm new snow above 9500' but widely redistributed by moderate to strong SW to W winds Sunday. Snow coverage up the summer trail from the campground is good, mostly, until you start breaking out of the trees when it becomes more of a route finding challenge. Open water at the outlet of Blue Lake and quite some ways down stream, crossing the creek to the south side of the creek a bit challenging. A patch of glass smooth ice on the north side of the lake, didn’t care to test it. 

Snow depth varies widely depending on wind effect and terrain. Solar aspects generally thin to bare with a few exceptions in favored gullies and depressions. Previously, windslabs were isolated with good facet skiing in between but after the recent wind/snow event the windslabs are more widely distributed throughout the treeline and alpine terrain. The windslabs encountered in route were not overly sensitive on moderate slope angles but still quite drum-like with 10 to 15 cm facets beneath, likely problem as you inch up in slope steepness. No avalanches noted while touring but I was able to get a windslab to crack the length of my skis on a 35 degree slope on ascent near treeline on a northerly aspect (~10,000’). Above treeline, snow appears to be variable on most aspects due to strong winds pre & post wind/snow event as well as previous solar heating. 

No failures noted during tests. Significant temperature gradient in the upper 1/2 of the snowpack driving strong facet formation. Due to variable conditions and deposition, the snowpits in the area vary widely. Some areas while probing exhibt loose facets above ground, overlaid by a stiff slablike midpack, toped by facets and windpack. Elsewhere, relatively consistent hardness and density with mid-pack ice crusts. 

Sheltered locations still offer limited soft facet skiing interspersed with occasional windslabs or wind scoured snow.  Plenty of surface and subsurface objective hazards (rocks, stumps, logs, etc.) exist, early season conditions exist throughout and the necessary cautions apply. 

 

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Any other comments about the observation or links to outside pages that have more info on the observation: 

Road is open to the campground. County will attempt maintain it through the holidays, possible beyond if drifting doesn't become too much of a drifting issue per or post holiday (aka big dump or heavy drifting). 

Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
No
Cloud Cover: 
25% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Light
Precipitation: 
None
Air temperature trend: 
Cooling
Wind Direction: 
East
More detailed information about the weather: 

Cold conditions persisted throughout the afternoon with scattered clouds.

ESAC receives support from ...