Forecaster Observation - Lost Johnny Creek, Swan Range

Location Name: 
Forecaster Observation - Lost Johnny Creek, Swan Range
Swan Range - East Side (Hungry Horse Reservoir access)
Date and time of observation: 
Sat, 03/12/2016 - 13:00
Location Map: 

Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

Observation made by: Forecaster
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

The objective for our tour was an attempt to locate buried surface hoar in the northern Swan Range. We dug a total of 4 pits on easterly and northerly aspects at upper elevations but found no buried surface hoar in these locations. Pits were dug between the elevations of 6200 feet and 6900 feet on a ridgeline of Hash Mountain in the Lost Johnny Creek drainage.

We found a trace of new snow on top of a surface crust at 6500 feet. At 6900 feet there was up to 5 cm of dense new snow on top of this crust. While on our ski descent we initiated rollerball/pinwheel movement in this new snow on each turn and traverse.

The snow surface at low and mid elevations was wet and at upper elevations the surface was moist.

Thick low cloud cover obscured our visibility at upper elevations. At mid elevations we were able to notice both recent and older small wet loose activity including some from the previous 12 hours. We also observed one thin slab avalanche (See 3-12-2016 Lost Johnny avalanche observation for more information).

East facing pit at 6900 feet:Height of snow = 300 cm                                                                                                                                                                               Layers from the snow surface: 

3 cm new snow

3 cm rain crust

14 cm low density snow

2 cm rain crust

45 cm 1F hard snow

3 cm rain crust

Thick layer of strong snow below the crust


Stability results:

ECTN 23 below the top crust

ECTN 27 below the second (2 cm) crust

CT 24 below the top crust

CT27 below the second crust


Our north facing pit at 6820 feeet:

Height of snow = 370 cm

Snow structure and stability results were similar to our east facing pit

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Weather Observations
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Moderate (Small trees sway)
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour
More detailed information about the weather: 

We encountered rain to approximately 6000 feet with snow above that.  

Precip Rate: 
S2; moderate snowfall, 2cm/hour