A team from Tacoma Mountain Rescue conducted a snow observation just East of Paradise during a weekly patrol and training with MRNPS. The snow pack was at a depth of 165 cm before hitting the ice crust layer from the Christmas snows. From 165 cm to 110 cm it was new powder from recent snow events. From 110 cm to 60 cm it was a wet layer of snow that was slushy but started to harden. At the 55 cm layer is the first layer of ice crust with rounded and hardened snowflakes which then break through to another ice crust layer at the 10-5 cm layer- this layer is very strong and frozen.
As the team tested a column of the snow layer it was observed that the slushy layer allowed for the powdered layer on top to compact and not impact the weak crust layer at the 55 cm depth.
It was wondered what this slushy layer would look like at higher altitudes and if it was frozen what would the impact be upon the powdered layer- however we were unable to get above Alta Vista- due to running out of time during our patrol with NPS. What was more concerning was the tree wells and potential for weak snow bridges over creeks and waterfalls.