Forecaster Observation - Pinnacle/Tunnel Creek, Flathead Range

Location Name: 
Forecaster Observation - Pinnacle/Tunnel Creek, Flathead Range
Flathead Range - Middle Fork Corridor
Date and time of observation: 
Tue, 01/19/2016 - 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: 

There was about 6-8 inches of new snow from 1/17-1/18 in this area above 6000 feet. A very thin (not noticeable while skiing or snowmobiling) rain crust developed likely early in the storm on 1/17 when temps were still hovering around freezing at upper elevations. This rain crust (~6-8 inches below the surface on non-wind scoured aspects) now has soft, unconsolidated snow below it that fractured in all tests and propagated in one ECT (ECTP 5 Q2). 

We also found the 1/12/2016 freezing rain crust about 2 feet from the surface. Just below this rain crust is flattened/decomposing surface hoar. HOWEVER, this layer fractured and propagated in one of our ECTs (ECTP21 Q1). 

We poked around on a south aspect where we found a very shallow (110 cm) snowpack. We were able to find the 12/9/2015 rain crust. A layer of weak, sugary snow (facets) below this crust still exists. This layer fractured and propagated with moderate force in our ECT (ECTP 19 Q2). 

Active wind loading occurred intermittently throughout the day loading NW, N, NE, E, and SE aspects.

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 

January 19, 2016 - Variable Surface Hoar, Tunnel Ridge, Flathead Range

Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Moderate (Small trees sway)
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour
More detailed information about the weather: 

Moderate wind with strong gusts. Sky was mostly obscured all day, but broken intermittently. This allowed for decent visibility, but not the highest peaks along the crest like Mt. Grant or Mt. Liebig. 

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