Snowpit from Big Easy Bowl

Location Name: 
Big Easy Bowl (Bowl NE of Ski Lake)
Region: 
BWRA
Date and time of observation: 
Wed, 03/22/2017 - 13:00
Location Map: 


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

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

New snow amounts in the BWRA ranged from a couple of inches of wet snow below 7500' to 14-16" of variable density snow above 9500'.  I toured up into Big Easy Bowl, the large open bowl NE of Ski Lake (other side of ridge), and dug a pit at about 10,000' on a NW facing 30* slope.  The wind had heavily effected the new storm snow from yesterday as the surface consisted mostly of a 1 finger hard wind board.  Some afternoon convective snow showers popped up after noon and dropped an inch or two of light new snow over the span of an hour.  I did not notice any recent avalanche activity, though visibility was not the best.  The snowpit showed about 30" of snow on top of the old snow surface, a thick melt-freeze crust, and consisted of softer new snow intermixed with layers of wind slabs.  There was a layer of softer snow about a foot below the surface that was sandwiched between two harder wind slabs and failed during both stability tests, including propagating across the column after only applying medium force (ECTP11).  The new/old snow interface did fracture during my compression test but did not propagate or even fracture during my extended column test.  Today's results show lingering mid-storm instabilities in areas that have been wind effected that a human could trigger on a steeper unsupported slope.

Photo Captions:

1:  Snow profile from Big Easy Bowl

2: Photo of snowpit showing propagation

3:  Winds heavily effected the snowpack in the BWRA, with easily recognizable scoured/loaded zones

4:  An abrupt section of open roadway along Hwy 108

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: 

Hwy 108 has been packed down by the Marines to Leavitt junction and then up Leavitt Lake Road to the lake.  Still lots of open sections of roadway, these can sneak up on you so be careful when traveling up the road and go slow.

Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Yes
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Moderate
Precipitation: 
Snow
Air temperature trend: 
Static
Wind Direction: 
Northwest
Accumulation rate: 
Greater than 1 in. per hour
More detailed information about the weather: 

Sunny and relatively warm at the trailhead changing to cold, snowy, and windy up at Leavitt Lake.  An afternoon convective snow shower popped up and dropped 1-2" of light new snow.  Winds were swirling in the bowl with gusts up to 30-40 mph from the SW-NW.