Pilot Peak Conditions December 1, 2918

Today, the first day of December, around 4 AM when checking telemetry and weather forecasts, it appears like we will find 10+ cm of new snow at Mores Creek Summit. As we drove it kept snowing. By the time we made it up to MCS pass, a little more than 20 cm of light pow was waiting for snow recreationists. Temps at the MCS pass was -5 Deg C, with -8 Deg C at 8000 feet at Pilot Peak summit.

Next clip show snowmobiles at the 6500 feet mark at Pilot Peak forest service road. 


It was a low visibility day short in opportunities to snap pictures. Between periods of snowing and dense fog, it did not make sense to get the camera out.

The most important observations for today:

  • The snowpack depth augmented from 50-55 cm to 70 cm.
  • Loading of the snowpack resulted in many spectacular whumps, covering 100 of meters.
  • There were snowpack surface cracks that resulted from natural (not human) triggers.
  • All parties riding today avoided slopes in excess of 32 degrees.
  • Riding was fun, but it was not rare to occasionally impact buried rocks or treefall. The best skiing was at lower angle slopes.

 Next a sample page of the Bitacora, a field book for ski touring planning and observation recording. Bitacora is the field book used during Avalanche Science courses.

This Bitacora page is shown to highlight the impact weather is having in the snowpack at Mores Creek Summit, whereas more than 20 cm of new snow in less than 24 hours have loaded the snowpack. Check the critical factors triangle in the image above.

It is important to remind readers of this blog that the reactivity of the snowpack at Mores Creek Summit is due 12 cm layer of facets with 3-4 mm in size and a well develop a structure of chained facets. Under this facet layer, there is a slick melt freeze layer. Above the facet weak layer, there is now a 50 cm slab. This a classic persistent slab with bad outcomes! 

The rest of today's annotations can be perused at the next link: