Observations from Ellis Peak

Location Name: 
Ellis Peak
Blackwood Canyon or Ward Canyon Area
Date and time of observation: 
Tue, 12/06/2016 - 12:00
Location Map: 
United States
39° 4' 21.45" N, 120° 11' 57.534" W

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

Very reasonable snowcover exists on the Barker Pass Rd in Blackwood Canyon. Departing the Rd on skis at 7,000' revealed around 60 cm of supportable snow in most areas on northerly aspects. Above 7,500' this increased to 60 to 120 cm in near and below treeline areas not previously wind scoured.

Snowpit data collected on the edge of a near treeline avalanche path at 8,440' on a N aspect revealed faceted old snow on top of basal ice near the bottom of the snowpack. This faceted snow was capped by a 4 cm thick rain crust. This is similar to the snowpack structure in other areas along the northern portion of the Sierra Crest in this elevation range. Snowpit tests also matched well with other snowpit tests performed in locations further north in the forecast area. Sudden collapse results were observed in the CT and the PST produced end propagation results on less than 50% cut length. ECT produced ECTN results with no failure triggered on the facet layer.

Photo 1: Pointing at the facet layer in the snowpit wall. Rain crust capping the facet layer is easily visible.

Photo 2: Old faceted snow taken from below the rain crust.

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

Increasing winds and clouds through the mid day.  Very light snow began to fall on our departure in the early afternoon.  Winds were moderate to strong above 8000'.  Blowing snow was minimal with limited snow to transport.