Test fest - thanks, volunteers, for all the digging and notetaking!
Wanted a better handle of the sensitivity and distribution of the 1/13 crust and weak layers, particularly in anticipation of the warming headed our way at the end of the week. Used a long, east-facing ridge as a transect, and conducted large column tests at 4 northeast to southeast facing sites.
Takeaways? It's getting harder for a person or snowmachine to collapse the surface hoar as it's buried deeper and degrades. Find a shallow spot where the layer's well-preserved, however, and it can fail spectacularly. This doomsday scenario seems more likely above 6000 feet, where the surface hoar layer is more distinct. After today's results, alarm bells would go off if I saw another profile where there's still an obvious, 1 cm-thick layer of surface hoar near the crust. Obvious as in visible from outside the pit.
Eggshell crust now on the surface after a brief freezing rain event early afternoon. Some impressive cornices and drifts on the ridge above 5700 feet, though we didn't detour from our test-fest to see if they were fragile.
Images and video to come.
to 6200 ft
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Call or text an observation: 406.66AVYOB