Forecaster Observation - China Basin/Werner Peak, southern Whitefish Range

Location Name: 
Forecaster Observation - China Basin/Werner Peak, southern Whitefish Range
Whitefish Range - Southern (south of Coal Creek)
Date and time of observation: 
Thu, 03/31/2016 - 11:30
Location Map: 

Red Flags: 
Rapid warming

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

Today, we rode into China Basin and up to Werner Peak in the the southern Whitefish Range. Our objectives were to assess lingering wind slab instability and how the warm (but cloudy) conditions were affecting the surface snow on multiple aspects at all elevations.

Light to moderate wind continued to blow out of the northeast, but was no longer drifting the consolidated snow along the ridgeline of Werner Peak. We noted plumes of snow blowing off of high elevation peaks in Glacier National Park to the east of our location. On a southwest aspect just below 7000 feet we found a shallow snowpack that was only about 2.5 feet thick. Though unreactive in stability tests, we found large grained, weak, faceted snow below an ice mass about 18 inches from the surface (photo, photo 2). We also dug a snowpit on a previously wind loaded east facing slope. The wind slabs formed earlier in the week were strengthening in this area, and were unreactive in our stability tests. Late in the afternoon warm temperatures and brief sun exposure began to weaken the snow surface, and large pinwheels formed on the steep slopes that we traveled above. However, throughout our travels we did not observe (or trigger) any wet, loose avalanches.

Stability Test Results:

southwest aspect - 

ECTN 18, 8 cm from the surface

east aspect -




Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
75% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Light (Twigs in motion)
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

Light to moderate wind continued to move out of the northeast. It was mostly cloudy all day, which kept the snow surface at upper elevations from becoming too wet.