Storm moving in, Upper Hilton Creek Area

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SNOWPACK OBSERVATION
Submission Info
Forecaster
Sunday, March 26, 2017 - 9:30am
Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
37° 28' 56.5896" N, 118° 45' 34.5204" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Left the East Fork trailhead at 0700 heading WSW for Mt. Huntington above Hilton Lake #4. Toured up and along the Hilton moraine to Hilton Lake #3. Turned around due to poor skiing conditions, worsening weather, and active wind loading in the area.

0730, Top of the Hilton moraine at 9750'- Snow below on the moraine was still frozen, K hard, melt-freeze crust. First trace of new snow from Friday's storm about 1.5cm deep. Sky = broken, Wind = light from the S, Tair = 3 C.

0900 at 10400' before the slight drop down to the Hilton Lakes, NE aspect - Wind = moderate from the W. Snow all along the Hilton bench was a combination of supportable or breakable crusts, either melt-freeze on E aspects or wind crust on W aspects. New snow on top of the crusts from Friday was between 2-8cm and still cold/dry.

0930 at 10340' below the N face of Patricia Peak, N aspect- Wind = moderate from the W with strong gusts. Blowing snow = light, rolling. Sky = overcast with occasional moments of sun behind the clouds (OVC-). Tair = 0.5 C and trending colder. Snow surface was a mixture of sastrugi and wind crusts, 4F to K hard. Hand shears pulled wind crust off of the new snow underneath with easy to moderate force. Top snow pack: 0-2cm wind packed rounds averaging 1F hard, 3-13cm decomposing and fragmented precip particles F hard, melt-freeze crust below. Very small, localized cracking in the wind crust. Bond between the DF layer and MFcr was poor, not very cohesive. We occasionally slid downhill while traversing.

1000 at 10350' on the ridge leading to Hilton Lake #5 above Hilton Lake #3, NE aspect (see pin on the map)- Lots of moderate blowing snow, especially during strong gusts. Wind from the SW (see photo). Snow surfaces on N and E aspects was sastrugi and wind board. 2 Recent D1.5-D2 loose wet avalanches in the SE facing bowl on Mt. Morgan North (see photo). Turned around form here. Not a great time or place to be in the alpine.

Snow stayed cold and hard until we reached SE aspect on the top of the moraine just above the parking area. Ski pen on the way down the moraine (below 9700') was 3-8cm of softening corn.

Snowpack photos: 
Blowing snow in upper Hilton Creek
Loose wet avalanches in SE bowl of Morgan North
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
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