Red Cone Pre-Storm Conditions

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SNOWPACK OBSERVATION
Submission Info
Forecaster
Sunday, February 11, 2018 - 2:45pm
Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
37° 35' 48.12" N, 119° 1' 27.12" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Toured up to the 10,300' on Red Cone this afternoon after the wind had had some time to do it's work to assess pre-storm conditions, wind affects, and coverage. Snow below about 9000' is getting pretty limited, I didn't even put my skis on until Mammoth Pack Outfit. Tromped across many bare patches up to Lake George. Coverage is becoming patchy on any feature that faces S or E up to about 10,000' (see photo). The top of Red Cone had been stripped by N winds in the past few days. Snow depths have settled down to between 70cm at 9200' (where the structure consists primarily of a melt-freeze crust with facets to the ground) and around 105cm at 10,200'. Surfaces are primarily melt-freeze crusts of varrying degrees of supportable except on sheltered, true N aspects that don't have too much tree coverage or direct sun exposure (shady but open, flatter than steep) where there are still patchs of surface facets. While I was probing for snow depth on my way up I tracked the buried persistent weak layers that lie under crusts between 35 and 50cm down and between 65 and 80cm down. These layers were primarily found on NE-N-NW aspects near treeline. The crusts at 35cm and 65cm were very hard, at least P. Some areas had very soft layers just above the ground as well. These layers are still present, but with the hard crusts over them and the relatively warm temps I wouldn't expect 2-4" of new snow to affect them much.

Skiing down to Horseshoe was challenging snow conditions and it was hard to avoid obstacles. Be especially careful if we get just enough snow to hide the rocks and logs that are poking through today.

Winds were moderate with strong gusts from the S. Isolated and occasional blowing snow was observed over Jaws and Blue Crag but nowhere else. Sky was broken to overcast. Tair at 10,300' at 245pm was -3deg C. Clouds and wind where keeping surfaces frozen and no wet instabilities were observed. New wind slabs that form with this incoming cold front will have icy bed surfaces in many places.

Snowpack photos: 
Patchy conditions on small S and E facing features up to 10,000'
Top of Red Cone stripped by previous N winds
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
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