Chicken Wing

Submission Info
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 11:30am
Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
37° 45' 21.3336" N, 119° 2' 12.714" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Route- Toured up NE, low angle aspects of the Chicken Wing from the parking area at 395. Tested wind slabs on the exposed ridge. Skied down sheltered N aspect trees back to the car.

1030- Moderate SW winds and lots of snow transport visible from the trailhead and on the cross country trails before the trees.

1100, NE aspect at 8600' in an opening in the trees just above one of the summer roads- Localized, shallow cracking on a short steep test slope. Hand shears pulling easy but non-planar on a graupel layer about 15cm down within the new snow. Old snow was melt-freeze rounds and wet to >50cm down; surface snow moist. Sky = scattered, Wind = moderate from the SW, calm in sheltered trees.

1130, N aspect at 9150', large opening in the trees- Hand shears pulling easy and occasionally planar in the graupel layer of the storm snow. Stopped to investigate further. Shovel tilt test sheared at 20cm down in the graupel layer with moderately hard tapping. CTE PC down 20cm x2  in the graupel, CTE PC down 30cm at the old/new snow interface which is a hard melt-freeze crust and surface snow is dry by this elevation. PST 28/100 and 40/100 SF above the MFcr down 30cm, PST 30/100 and 45/100 SF in the graupel layer at 20cm. The graupel layer is the weakness in the storm snow on the Chicken Wing today, but the snow over top of it doesn't have very many slab-like qualities.

1205, NNE aspect at 9580' as the trees open towards the top, leeward side of a convex roll- Hand shears pulling easy and planar under about 20cm of wind deposited snow. Another few tests to check it out. CTE PC down 20cm in the graupel layer. CTM PC down 30cm above the MFcr, old/new interface. Kick turns tests have localized, shallow cracking.

1220 on the summit ridge at 9800'- Stomped on all the cornices pointing E off of the ridge. Mixed results: broke into medium sized chunks about 30cm down but didn't slide (see photo). Took a hard turn on an obviously wind loaded, very low consequence, test slope and triggered a very small D1 wind slab. Crown between 10 and 20cm deep, 20' across, ran about 30 vertical feet. Skiing in sheltered trees much better than on exposed ridges. Snow was again moist and very sticky below about 8600', some small roller balls from my skis below that elevation.

Snowpack photos: 
Cornice test results.
Test slope crown.
Test slope results, debris.
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
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