Strong northeasterly winds were blowing hard Thursday and Friday, stripping upper elevation exposed NE facing slopes and loading S-SW-W facing slopes. Luckily the winds did not effect snow just below the crest and snow remained soft. Though these wind slabs will be more difficult over the weekend as the winds die down, the weight from a snowmobiler or skier could still trigger these features. Blowing snow, cornices, wind scoured surfaces, ripples, and other wind created textures can help identify where wind slabs may exist. The hard wind slabs that exist on some aspects may also sound hollow due to the soft snow underneath them. It is recommended to stay off of windloaded slopes steeper than 35 degrees Saturday and Sunday until these wind slabs strengthen and bond to the underlying snowpack.
Temperatures in the BWRA are expected to rise well above the freezing mark in the BWRA this weekend. Combined with clear skies, wet loose avalanches will be likely on all solar aspects, especially near the bottom of exposed cliff bands. Though these will generall be small and harmless, they could push a person off their sled or skis and be dangerous in high consequence terrain.
We rode up to Sonora Pass and the PCT crossing area and found a strong snowpack but blowing snow from strong NE winds on exposed ridgetops. We saw very little signs of instability in our stability tests and none from other riders in the area.
Currently (8 am Saturday), a strong inversion is present with below zero temps in Bridgeport, 18 F at the Leavitt Lake Road junction, and 28 F up at Leavitt Lake. A large area of high pressure will donimate our weather through Tuesday with sunny skies, light winds, and warm above freezing upper elevation temperatures. The ridge begins to break down Wednesday as the next storm takes aim at the Sierras Thursday through Friday. Right now, 12-18 in of snow is expected at Sonora Pass by Friday afternoon.
This snowpack summary applies only to backcountry areas in the Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area. Click here for a map of the area. This snowpack summary describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This snowpack summary expires in 48 hours unless otherwise noted. The information in this snowpack summary is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.
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