March 6, 2018, 2:30 p.m. PST
Weather: Clear and sunny. Winds light out of the SE. Temps at Alp base reached lower 40's and grills were out.
Snowpack: Dug @4500' on NW and SE aspects of generally NE facing slopes in the Alpental Valley. NW facing pit was very deep, wind loaded, homogenous, and density increased uniformly with depth. There was no evidence of sun crusts or weak layers of any kind. The 2/8 interface was not reached after about 2m of digging. Stability tests were not preformed. While slightly more interesting, the SE facing pit was still mostly uniform and confidence inspiring. Here are the deets from that pit: About 30cm of fist density snow is sitting on a thin, brittle sun crust from Saturday. Below this is about 15cm of fist plus sitting on a more broken melt/freeze crust. These two layers were probably formed during intermittent showers and sun last Wednesday/Thursday. Below this level density changes to finger and increases to pencil after about a meter. We flagged a thinner density change and what we concluded to most likely be the 2/23 crust but both of these were variable, tough to isolate and not easily observed in the pit wall. Although we dug all the way to the 2/8 interface, no faceted snow was observed above that layer which appeared much less like a crust than a snowpack base of frozen, rounded polycrystals. Deep tap test was preformed with no results and again, no faceted snow was observed in this location. Compression and ECT tests were preformed in the upper snowpack with limited results. CT22@85cm (our assessment of the 2/23 layer) and ECTX. Overall this snowpit's structure was good, strength was good, and energy was low.
Area Description: Alpental Backcountry
Avalanches: Lots of rollerballing and tree bombing, nothing in the way of cohesive slabs or piles of debris. Certainly some wind loaded pockets areas but surface snow was soft and luscious. Our 2/8-2/13 layers are deeply buried and have not been active for over 2 weeks. Some might not agree but Shag is putting this one to bed. The 2/23 interface continues to be active but is apparently not widespread in distribution. Information on the fatal avalanches concerning this layer is frustratingly scarce, but as this layer continues to get deeper, and recent events reveal, it may require something heavier than a skier to trigger. That said, I'll continue to be cautious on solar aspects if for no other reason than it's March and I'm pasty. Please enjoy this picture of me fisting the snowpack while I try to communicate with it via morse-code. ~Nasty
Observation by Shag Nasty
Did you see any avalanches? No
Did you trigger any avalanches? No
Was anyone caught in an Avalanche? No