Tue, Feb 18, 2020 - 7:24 PM
Three Sisters Area
Ski or Snowboard
Toured up Tumalo today to check out how the new snow got re-distributed after the last snow event. I wanted to check on this as the winds late on Sunday (2/16) kind of got up there in wind speed that it seemed like snow was going to be blown all over the place.
Just above the highway, snow was 240cm deep, air temps were -10c, and winds were calm. The forest to get up on top was holding all kinds of great cold powder. The surface of the snow in the trees had the classic 'shimmer' (surface facets/surface hoar; not a problem on the surface) that was brought on by the previous cold clear night.
Things started to change as I hit treelike. The new snow was shallow and you could detect signs of the previous wind event that came out of the west. Getting on top, I found the previous snow blown into the bowl. It was about 45cm in the deeper pockets. It also looked like the powder people had their way with it. The bowl was pretty torn up.
I also noted that a moderate wind on top was coming out of the NE. All this snow that was moved here the other day was now being pressed by the wind. Very little snow on the surface was available for transport. Lots of crust exposed along ridge lines and the summit.
Digging in I found the wind blown snow to be well bonded to a very hard rain crust down ~45cm that took some work to get through. Several other crusts could be found below. ~60cm down I found a thin band of weaker snow below a crust. This was 1 Finger hard with Pencil hard snow below and a Ice hard crust above. The only weakness I found was in the wind deposited snow and was a little too shallow to apply our classic snowpack tests to (CT and ECT). Its gaining strength as I had to give it some pull with hand shears.
The ride back down was pretty good once in the trees, if you could find the way through the old ice chunks under the newer snow.