Snowpack in the Baldy OB is thin and very weak. Outside of wind-affected areas, the slab seems too thin and soft to cause widespread instability. It doesn't take much effect from the wind to provide a stiff enough slab to produce collapsing/cracking and poor snowpack test scores.
Top of Baldy was in and out of the clouds.
Jan 5, 2021
(+/- 1 day)
|D2||SS-Soft Slab||O-Old Snow||N-Natural||Report|
Snowpack is very thin and weak and there is only reasonable coverage on mid to upper elevation shaded slopes. December weak layer presents as well developed depth hoar in places and is uniformly F- in hardness. 11/17 dirty crust is almost completely eaten away, and solstice crust is also quite deteriorated. On middle and upper elevation shaded aspects, the slab is 25-30cm thick and F to F+ in hardness - generally insufficient to produce instability. But it takes very little wind-stiffening to change the equation.
Big North, 8500', N: HS 60cm. 12/11 FC/DH down 30cm - ECTX, PST25/100end. Slab was barely F+ over F- weak layer. We had a collapse near the pit site where the slab was slightly wind-stiffened.
Top of Bassett, 8900', WNW: HS 50cm. Slab was just slightly stiffer from wind (4F-) but still 30cm thick - this was enough to produce ECTP14, PST29/100end.
Layer Depth/Date: 30cm
Weak Layer(s): Dec 11, 2020 (FCsf)
Comments: Problem is more reactive where there is wind-stiffening of the slab.
We avoided consequential avalanche terrain.