The day began obscured but around 2pm skies finally began clearing. This morning was the first time since 2/28 that Heather Meadows dipped below freezing and got a few cm of fresh snow. At 5000ft over a foot of mainly snow had fallen since 3/2.
Storm totals at Heather Meadows since 2/26-3/3: 11.75 inches of water, 34" of snow before 3" of rain fell on it. A subsequent ~4" snow has since fallen over that.
Feb 28, 2022
Feb 28, 2022
Table Mountain - N+E
Many D2-D3 (large and very large) slab avalanches (moist storm slab?) were visible with 2-4 foot estimated crowns, which probably occurred 2/28 as snowfall transitioned to rain at all elevations. They were mainly viewed on E and N aspects (my viewing area was pretty limited)
D1-D2 (small-large) wet loose avalanches occurred in many steep areas, probably 2/28-3/1 and possibly some on 3/2.
The only avalanches from today that I encountered were possibly a few very small wet loose avalanches, mainly rollerballs, originating above 5000ft on south facing aspects once the sun affected them after noon. It is unclear whether they may have occurred yesterday, but they did look a little fresher than most of the other old wet loose avalanches.
A fresh layer of snow coated the rain-soaked old layer at all elevations I traveled. 5cm of low density slightly moist powder snow was overlying large-grained loose melt-forms at 4200ft, but the new snow depth went up to 25cm by 4400ft, and was over a foot deep from 4500ft and up. At 4200ft my boot penetration was 50+cm, with my feet easily sinking through the loose, moist layers beneath. It was slightly better at 5200ft, where I sunk about 40cm down. Luckily, the subtle drop of a couple degrees to just below freezing kept the moist layer more supportable than I previously heard it was for skis, staying within the new snow layer and only sinking 10-20cm down.
The new snow was moderately heavy, and generally right-side up. We tried jumping on a few test slopes, and aside from a few small rollerballs coming down, nothing slid at all. A pit we dug on Huntoon Point at 5200ft revealed a surprising amount of heavy powder snow (40cm) over a thick layer of large-grained, moist melt forms, all the way down to the Valentine's layer, which was moist as well. We found a few small, moist rounding facets just at the top of the Valentine's layer, but its hardness was 1F and we didn't get results on it in tests. Snowpit tests revealed only subtle layer changes with hard compression test taps (PC) about 20cm down, in the dry-ish surface snow layer.
While we were in the clouds around noon at Huntoon Point, we heard rumblings which we suspect were avalanches or icefalls coming from Mt Shuksan, where we suspect the upper slopes were already seeing the sun.
Our largest avalanche concern for the day ended up being small wet loose avalanches once the sun began shining on slopes in the afternoon, although we were mainly staying off south slopes.
Comments: Likely to occur when sun shines on steep, s-facing slopes. Probably failing within the new snow layer, or possibly up to the interface with the large-grained moist melt-forms.