I wish there were more to report on but it has been hot & dry @ the BWRA. We are still CLOSED for the season. This is a great time to get the skills & equipment ready for when the skies open up & snowmobiling begins.
Although the snowpack does not exist in much of our recreation area, where it has been wind deposited it is dicey. Snow depths vary from -1cm to 130cm (0.4" - 51") in the most extreme loaded areas. The most recent quick precipitation we received over a week ago has formed a denser wind slab which sits upon facetted grains. These grains below the wind slab have poor cohesion & large air spaces which can help promote avalanches if triggered. The deepest wind deposits are on North through Eastern aspects above 8500'.
A layer buried within the snowpack that might become a season-long avalanche hazard exists from the storm that happened around Thanksgiving. Following that event a prolonged period of warm & dry weather persisted, deteriorating what snow was available. In isolated areas (about 1/3 up from ground within snowpack) a crust has formed with faceting on either side of this layer creating a poor structure. Although not consistently dispersed & reactive this layer of concern could linger as we get more precipitation this winter.
Our snowpack is thin & in a state of deterioration from warm temperatures & no new precipitation. The isolated areas where a snowpack exists are located mainly on North through East aspects above 8500'. Changes in snowpack structure vary greatly across the landscape, even within a few feet of where snow profiles are dug. That being considered, overall we are seeing two layers of possible concern. The uppermost recent snow has formed a variable wind slab sitting on facets. Also, a persistent slab problem may exist around the snow that fell at Thanksgiving.
An old slab avalanche that has become more pronounced exists above the motorized PCT crossing @ Sonora Pass. Upon investigation the wind slab likely slid upon our persistent slab crust. Winds have scoured, transported dirt, & blown in new snow erratically making it previously hard to see in the shadows
Unseasonably warm temperatures exist in the BWRA. Last evening it remained above freezing at our Snotel stations located at 9604'. The High Pressure ridge that has dominated our area will begin to break up Tuesday evening as a weak system moves in. So far these waves of moisture show low intensity & quick duration with snow levels climbing to 8000'.
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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