Bishop Area - Peaklett -snow conditions

Submission Info
Wednesday, March 24, 2021 - 11:30am
Red Flags: 
37° 16' 42.1212" N, 118° 39' 4.0104" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

I went up to the Bishop backyard today to check on new snow totals, potential avalanche activity and to see what  the access is currently to get to some skiing. It was quite calm for most of the morning with warm above freezing temperatures down low in the sage country, but it never got baking hot today. There was a high haze which tempered solar gain and kept things moderated for the most part. Snow surfaces warmed up, but that was about it, I didn’t find any wet, saturated or unsupportable snow at all today, even in thin areas down at lower elevations. It really was just perfect for ski travel today. I got to my highpoint of 11,400ft on Peaklett peak around 12 and it was quite pleasant to eat lunch under light NW breezes and a temperature of just around freezing.  I only saw a few small roller balls that had fallen from some SE facing granite cliffs, other than that did not see any natural slab or pt release avalanche activity today. In sheltered N-NE areas I found upwards of 4” of new snow that was well bonded and becoming moist at mid day. Higher elevations and couloirs in the Crest looked like they held even more snow and were relatively un wind-effected except for the highest sections of the Wahoo gully and KIndegarten chute. The overall snowpack is definitely not that fat, and it’s going to be a short spring season, unless we get some serious late season snow. I did find some cross loaded drifts on SE aspects that easily cracked and slid slightly on old glassy sun crusts at around 11000ft. The new snow looked pretty uniform throughout the basin, but I could see larger drifted areas along rock walls and behind outcroppings of stone on their leeward side to the north winds of yesterday. I descended a ESE aspect and found pleasant surface conditions with 1-4” of well bonded snow on smooth sun crust. The new snow did not sheet off, nor roller ball at 1230 today, again the high haze kept things cooler up to that point.

Sheltered NE aspects within tree’d terrain at the 10000ft level were shallow, ~90cm and in many places completely faceted, but still supportable to ski penetration. In many spots on the skin up I could punch my pole to the ground. It made me think of last season when this area saw nearly 4-5ft of snow with 5” of water the first week of April falling on a thin degraded mid winter pack. There were several large D2 avalanches after that as well as a large skier triggered slide in the Piute Crags that nearly killed someone. I think it’s something to think about for the south zone with its thin snowpack this year, if we get a big dump on this with a lot of weight, things could be touchy and reactive with a big slab falling on thin weak snow in many northerly-easterly aspects.

Had to park at the creek crossing, but the dirt road that normally access the Longley Reservoir trailhead had a ribbon of snow that provided ski access all the way up with a few dry spots, coming out was a breeze although going up provides some time for gawking at the amazing scenery.

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Weather Observations
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