Public Observation - Skyland, Patrol ridge snowpit, Flathead Range

Location Name: 
Public Observation - Skyland, Patrol ridge snowpit, Flathead Range
Flathead Range - Marias Pass/Skyland
Date and time of observation: 
Thu, 01/21/2016 - 11:30
Location Map: 

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

Our main concern before heading out was the buried surface hoar layer that was reported to be wide spread throughout the area.

Our group conducted three snowpits at 7000' ranging from north to northeast aspects just below ridgetop.  Two pits were in wind loaded areas and one was in a more shelterd location.  Similar results observed in all three

HS 165, 30 degree slope, overcast skies, 35cm foot pen, -2.5C air temp

Of note surface temp was -3C, 10 cm's down temp was -6 C.

Our test results varied some between the three pits but consistently showed two layers of concern.  

CT 10-15 Q2 30 cms down on a mixed form layer with some graupel.  ECT showed ECTN with light force.

CT 22-27 Q2 40 cms down on the surface hoar layer. The buried surface hoar was significant (3-5mm).  ECT showed ECTP with moderate force.  ECT pulled out in a intact slab about 5mm but did not fall into the pit.

We did not get any results on the dec 9th crust which was buried about 100cm's down in out pit locations.    







Any other comments about the observation or links to outside pages that have more info on the observation: 


Small layer of graupel on the surface from the evening of 1/20.  At higher elevations (6700-7000) we observed a small amount of surface hoar (up to 1mm) mixed in with the graupel from the night before.  Recent snow (night of 1/19) amounted to about 20 cm's at 7000'.  While skinning (6600'-7000') we observed a layer that was relatively easy to crack out with some effort on tight switchbacks that had some slab like consistency. 

No recent avalanche activity observed. 

We decided as a group to ski a more conservative line then initally planned.  Our planned line would have put us going over a convex roll in open trees where the slope angle became considerably steeper.  Skiing was great on the decent.  Snow was becoming sticky at lower elevations 5500' and below.

Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
75% of the sky covered by clouds
Wind Speed: 
Light (Twigs in motion)
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
More detailed information about the weather: 


Air temps warming during the day.  Some sun while skinning.  Light snow flurries mid day throughout afternoon with continued warming temps.  Some light rain in valley bottoms in afternoon

Precip Rate: 
S -1; very light snowfall, trace to 0.5cm/hour