Cold snow heating up on Independence Peak

Independence Couloir
Submission Info
Friday, March 13, 2020 - 11:15am
Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
Rapid warming
Obvious avalanche path
Independence Peak 36° 45' 49.0608" N, 118° 19' 31.6956" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Found better than expected coverage on Independence Peak today. Was able to skin as soon as I crossed Independence Creek, and found around 15-25 cm of new snow up the Independence Couloir, with HS of 30 cm down low, and 120-150 cm above 11000'. The only wind loading I encountered at all was in the upper 200 vertical feet of the feature, and there was no wind transport occurring, or even any wind blowing where I was. The lower 1/3 of the couloir, which faces almost due north, held cold wintery snow on top of a supportable crust. The middle 1/3 was getting and had previously received a lot of sun, and was quickly becoming moist and heavy. There was evidence of previous rollerballing, and wet-loose activity, although some cloud cover and fog today prevented more wet-loose instability. The upper 1/3 had a wind-skin up to 6" thick in places, residing on an entirely rotten snowpack, due to the rocky terrain and relatively thin coverage. Booting in this area was miserable. The apron out the bottom was incredibly sticky, and very shallow. Overall, given the season history, the skiing was pretty great.

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Cloud Cover: 
75% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Accumulation rate: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

37 F when I left the car at 930 am with BKN skies. On my way up, periods of intense sunshine and warmth were interspersed with periods of fog and mountain cloud cover, which eventually obscured most of the couloir. When I returned to the car at 130, the temperature had only risen to 38, and graupel was falling. As I drove north, the temperatures climbed 10 degrees between Independence and Big Pine, although the mountain top cloud cover remained.

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