Limited Kick Test Results in Wind Slabs, Sherwins

Submission Info
Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 9:30am
Red Flags: 
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
37° 36' 33.48" N, 118° 59' 33" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Toured up the Sherwins from the end of Old Mammoth Rd. and stomped on cornices and wind slabs along the top of the Hose and Mammoth Rock Bowl. N and E facing features, primarily just leeward of ridges and rollovers, had thin wind slabs between 2 and 15cm thick (they got thicker as I went higher). In many areas, starting all the way down at 8700' and continuing the whole way up, there were energetic shooting cracks and small chunks of slab breaking under my skis. Kick tests along the wind loaded top of the Hose had several very small (10' wide) results. But mostly just shooting cracks and no sliding. Jumping and ski cutting the top of upper Mammoth Rock Bowl had similar but more isolated results. The weak layer was previous storm snow and the bed surface was a crust (older wind crust probably) underneath the snow that fell on Monday/Monday night. See attached photos of the 1st cracking down near Mammoth Rock and a sample of shooting cracks and slab break up at the top of the ridge.

At the top of the ridge light north winds were cold and just starting to strip the top of the Hose at 930am. N winds were also actively stripping the top of Bloody and slopes near Duck Pass. No natural avalanches were visible on the Mammoth Crest from the top of the Sherwins. No natural activity on the Sherwins.

This was not a skiing trip! There are too many obstacles and thin snow cover below about 9200' and I would be very cautious playing on the Sherwins right now. I booted rather than skied down from about 9000'.

Snowpack photos: 
First cracking at 8700'
Many very small results from kick tests along the top of the Sherwin Ridge
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
25% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
More detailed information about the weather: 
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