Toured up Marion Lake with forecaster 'Rambo' to determine if the new snow consolidated to form a slab and to see how reactive the groundhog crust was. It didn't and it wasn't. : ) Surprised to find no other tourers, despite beautiful soft new snow and good visibility. Toured up the south facing aspect. No signs of wind loading throughout the tour even on ridgetops, but encountered moderate-strong winds in the canyon en route.
Dug our first pit at ~5000' elevation and identified 3 layers of concern listed in increasing depth throughout the snowpack.
- sun crust located 5" deep (under 5" of low density unconsolidated new snow) that likely formed this past Thurs/Fri. Found an inch of faceted snow growing beneath this crust.
- mystery crust 11" below snow surface and our ECT propagated with moderate force below the crust on a ~1" layer of facets
- Encountered the lingering Groundhog crust 30" below the surface that propagated with hard force. Surrounded above and below by 1-2" of facets
The 2nd pit dug at ~6500' elevation. No buried sun crust encountered at higher elevations. 10-12" of unconsolidated new snow on top of first potentially 'problem' crust layer found 12" below the surface - did not fracture or propagate. Found groundhog layer 54" below the surface that partially propagated with hard force.
Skied beautiful snow without any signs of instability.
Forecast Hotline: 406.257.8402
Call or text an observation: 406.66AVYOB