Conditions in Middle Fork San Joaquin, Rush Creek Drainages

Between Mammoth and June
Submission Info
Wednesday, March 24, 2021 - 8:00pm
Red Flags: 
Recent avalanche activity
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
Rapid warming
Waugh Lake 37° 44' 49.6572" N, 119° 12' 13.4172" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Toured from Mammoth Main Lodge to Waugh Lake via Island Pass, then out Rush Creek to the power plant near June Lake.  Light snowfall was nearly constant Monday-Tuesday Night, but new snow totals were a few inches at most.  Winds were strong over the same period, especially Tuesday's north wind which produced significant flagging off peaks, though not much snow transport in the valleys. 

Snow coverage is still excellent in the Middle Fork San Joaquin drainage, even on solar aspects.  In the Rush Creek drainage, coverage was very good down to Agnew Lake, below which solar aspects are melting out. It was still possible to ski 98% of the terrain from Agnew Lake down to the power plant, mostly following the trail and tramway, but that situation will be changing quickly without fresh snow.  At our campsites around 9500' in wind-sheltered areas, total snow depth was around 180cm.

No signs of instability were encountered on the slopes we traversed despite the new snow and winds.  There was a recent crown (probably from Sat or Sun) on an E-facing slope west of Banner that looked to be 100 or 200' in width.  Wednesday was warm, but even SE slopes at 8700' were supportable.

Pics: looking down towards Silver Lake from about 8000'; Ritter and Banner from Island Pass; Looking NW on the east side of the San Joaquin below Two Teats.  Sorry the photos are all rotated weirdly!

Snowpack photos: 
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