Shallow Snowpack on Rubicon Peak

Location Name: 
Rubicon Peak
West Shore Area
Date and time of observation: 
Mon, 12/04/2017 - 11:30
Location Map: 
United States
38° 59' 27.6" N, 120° 8' 2.4" W

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

Snow coverage below 8000 ft. remains quite shallow with numerous rocks, stumps, trees, logs, and other obstacles still exposed. Below this elevation only about 2-6 inches of soft unsupportable snow exists in most places. Below 7500 ft. a thin layer of the new snow exists over bare ground. Above 8000 ft. a more usable snowpack exists but many obstacles and shallowly buried objects still remain.  The snowpack above 8000 ft. measured about 1 - 3 ft. in depth and consisted of the recent storm snow on top of a weak layer of sugary snow on top of a thick, frozen, supportable rain crust.  In sheltered areas the new snow did not have enough cohesion to behave like a slab layer. 

In more exposed areas small wind slabs did still exist on slopes that were loaded during the storm by the SW winds.  Ski kicks on wind-loaded test slopes did cause some small shooting cracks. On previously undercut wind-loaded test slopes ski kicks triggered larger cracks. The wind slabs remained shallow and thin. Little to no wind transport was observed today. 

2-4 mm feathery snow grains (surface hoar) exists on all snow surfaces up to the summit of Rubicon.

Photo 1: Surface Hoar was observed on the snow surface at all elevations.

Photo 2: Skier triggered cracking on a NE facing wind-loaded test slope at 8800 ft.

Photo 3: Skier triggered cracking on a NE facing wind-loaded test slope at 8800 ft. that was previously undercut.

Photo 4: Snow coverage at 7400 ft.

Photo 5: Snow coverage at 8300 ft.


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

Light to moderate easterly winds at the summit of Rubicon, but these winds were not transporting snow and had not scoured the windward aspects.