Snowpit from McKay Creek Area

Location Name: 
McKay Creek
Date and time of observation: 
Tue, 03/28/2017 - 23:30
Location Map: 

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

Found a variety of snow surfaces in the McKay Creek area today, inlcuding new snow (which had graupel pellets), a supportable wind board, and sun crusts.  I did find some dry and unconsolidated new snow on shaded north facing slopes.  The wind and sun over the past couple of days have definitely had their way on our snowpack.  Though the sun was out in force today I did not notice any loose wet activity in the BWRA.   I dug a pit on a 33* steep, NW facing slope at 9600' above McKay Creek and found about a foot and half of snow on top of a hard ice crust which formed after the 2 weeks of warm weather earlier this month.  The surface consisted of a few inches of dry new snow from Sunday night.  Below that was a mixture of crusts and new snow from storms last week.  None of these layers showed much in the way of instability in my stability tests.  Overall, the snowpack here was pretty strong and stable.  

There are plenty of large overhanging cornices in the BWRA right now and a few have already failed.  I observed debris from a large cornice that collapsed above Leavitt Lake, with debris running across previous snowmobile tracks.  I did see what appeared to be a small skier triggered soft slab avalanche in Voodoo Bowl, which likely occured on Monday.  See avalanche observation for more details.

Photo Captions:

1:  Snow profile from McKay Creek

2:  Photo of snowpit

3:  Sun crusts present on south facing slopes

4:  Large overhanging cornice above McKay Creek

5:  Debris from a large cornice collapse above Leavitt Lake

6:  Not much snow on 108 just past the gate

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Any other comments about the observation or links to outside pages that have more info on the observation: 

Lots and lots of pavement on the lower section of Hwy 108 past the gate, but not enough to begin driving up past the gate.  MWTC groomers put a fresh groom on Hwy 108 from the 8000' elevation sign to the junction then up Leavitt Lake Road to the lake.

Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

Perfect conditions today, which sunny skies and calm/light winds.  Temps started out in the low 20s but quickly warmed up to the upper 30's later in the morning.