thoughts on the snowpack

Ahh, the old:  low probability, high consequence realm of avalanche hazard.  :)  Lots of strong 'bridging' out there, but I'm definitely still quite leery of faceted snow around the ground.  Collapsing and cracking has become rare, but Extended Column Tests continue to propagate... My two cents, one can currently get away with a Ton, but I personally don't plan to be skiing anything open and sustained over 35 degrees.  (for some time yet)

That said, the snowpack is well consolidated for early December, especially in many of the mid and lower elevations.  Down there the depth hoar has become quite saturated with the recent warm temps, and appears to be rounding and sintering well.  I'm optimistic that once the temps drop again, things might lock up, and provide excellent x-country traveling.  

As a good example, this avalanche was triggered two days ago, on a westerly aspect adjacent Daisy Pass, apparently following numerous high markings.  It's a nice reminder that even though we haven't had much new snow recently, there's a persistent weak layer lurking (potentially on all aspects and elevations).

photo by Anon (via the GNFAC)

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