Small Sluffs and Minor Cracking on Silver Peak

Location Name: 
Silver Peak
Cabin Creek, Deep Creek, or Pole Creek Area
Date and time of observation: 
Fri, 01/26/2018 - 12:30
Location Map: 
United States
39° 13' 34.608" N, 120° 14' 23.928" W

Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

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

We spent much of our tour trying to gather more data about the possible buried surface hoar layer. Numerous handpits, quick snowpits, and snowpit tests performed during the tour into Silver Peak on slopes between 7000 and the ridgeline of Silver Peak ft. did not reveal any signs of a buried surface hoar or other persistent weak layers below the new snow. We also revisited the site of a previous snowpit from 1/23/18. Today's snowpit just uphill from that location also did not show any signs of the buried surface hoar layer. The only signs of instability that we saw on the sheltered below treeline terrain were some loose dry sluffs triggered by ski cuts on steep test slopes.

In more wind-exposed terrain, some evidence of wind-loading existed including small cornices above some slopes, some wind created surface textures, and some drifting near the ridgeline. Ski kicks on wind-loaded test slopes did trigger some minor cracking that did not extend very far from my skis. On the windward sides of the ridge, 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches) of soft snow remained available for transport if the winds increase.    

Photo 1: Loose dry sluff triggered by a ski cut on a steep below treeline test slope. N aspect 7700 ft.

Photo 2: Small cracking on a wind-loaded test slope along the ridge. NE aspect 8100 ft.

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
25% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: