East Slopes Central - Lake Chelan to South of I-90
Dec. 11, 2016, 11:30 a.m. PST
Weather: Broken sky, light snow, moderate westerly wind transporting snow, cool temps.
Snowpack: Took a walk to the basalt-induced treeline adjacent to Mission Ridge to see how the recent snow and wind affected the snowpack. A representative pit found right side up snow on a sheltered, east facing slope ~32-degrees ~5600' elevation. 120 cm total depth. 120-90 cm - fist 90-75 cm - four fingers 75-5cm - one finger 5-0cm - fist - unconsolidated facets overlay loose rock. ECTX on density change between Friday and Saturday snow. Shovel shears showed distinct density changes between Friday and Saturday storms. While the snow around treeline and in sheltered areas seems to be right side up, the devil is in the details. Just above the pit, I found some chalky wind slabs 10-35 cm, that led to shooting cracks over shallower snow when treaded upon. An easterly test slope popped but did not propagate over a shallow, weak base with underlying rock/facets. A continental, early-season look to the snowpack around Mission Ridge. In summary, east-facing slopes range from green light (where it's deep enough) to thin and rocky or hard and loaded. Anywhere with persistent wind is a combination of scoured out or slabbed up. As high pressure builds, existing wind slabs and probable future near surface faceting may provide tricky surfaces for the next storm cycle to fall upon. The key words on the far east slope are shallow and heterogeneous.
Area Description: Ascended just above Marion Lake to the West.
Observation by Nate Hough-Snee
Did you see any avalanches? No
Did you trigger any avalanches? No
Was anyone caught in an Avalanche? No