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Stormy on Thielsen

Intense precipitation
Observation Date/Time:
Sat, Feb 13, 2021 - 1:42 PM
Drake Donovan
Diamond Lake Area (Baily, Crater Lake, Thielson) / 8000'
Report Type:
Snow Conditions  
Travel Mode:
Ski or Snowboard  

Written Report:
Did a quick day tour up Thielsen on Saturday to try to harvest some of this fresh storm snow. We were the only folks on the mountain that day, although the roar of snowmobiles across the highway could definitely be heard.

We started skinning at about 9:30 from the trailhead and the snow was really coming down-- we were getting around an inch and hour for the first 3 hours we were out. The snow on the ground was fluffy with a thin breakable crust about 4 inches down that disappeared quickly as we gained elevation.

As we popped out of the trees on the west ridge around 7000 ft, the wind was pretty intense from the NW but the predominate direction of the wind for the storm was from the SW, as evidenced by the large cornices hanging over the edge of the NW bowl. We kicked a few off to see if we could get any sort of sliding to occur, but at the relatively low angle the snow acted pretty stably.

We climbed a bit closer to 8000 feet and decided to break to dig a quick pit and eat a snack. The pit was on a fairly low-angle (20s) south facing aspect that was a bit down the ridge and somewhat sheltered from the wind effects. There was about 60cm of fist hard fluff, 25cm of 4F, and 25cm of 1F on top of a crusty sandwich with some soft 1F snow below. It all seemed well bonded and there was no obvious weak layer in the snowpack. We did a few half-assed isolated shovel shears on the pit and we got some low energy but mostly planar fractures. The air temperature was -7C at 1pm at this elevation.

Even though the snow looked alright, we decided that we could have just as much fun with far less risk by staying on the south side of the ridge, so that's exactly what we did. We enjoyed the big open glade right at treeline and a nice low-angle powder cruise back to the trailhead. At the car at 3pm the air temperature was closer to -2C and the sun even made an appearance.