Crusts in upper snowpack, St. Regis Basin

Location Name: 
Ridge on W side of St. Regis Basin (ID/MT state line)
Region: 
St. Regis Basin
Date and time of observation: 
Mon, 01/17/2022 - 11:00
Location Map: 
United States
47° 25' 32.8152" N, 115° 43' 14.0592" W
US


Red Flags: 

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

The surface crusts seem to have changed little over the weekend. Some sun and warming has made the surface at lower elevations and sunny aspects more robust, and at low elevations it's really more of a thick melt/freeze layer. This is good for potential future stability because faceting is more prevalent around thin crusts. We do have thin crusts at higher elevations, especially the shadier North and East portions of the compass rose, which the attached picture illustrates. We've seen this crust sandwich in several locations in the St. Regis and Silver Valley zone and we expect it's widespread at elevations above 6000' or so. We're not seeing faceting around these crusts yet, and we also aren't seeing surface hoar on the surface. There is a very thin coat of snow, less than 1 cm, of snoe which fell this weekend on the surface crust at these upper elevation.

These crusts could pose a problem for several reasons moving forward:

  • There is low density snow on both sides of the surface crusts, which could be prone to faceting over time, especially if the crusts remain near the snow surface for a while.
  • Faceting near crusts can be very subtle, so it might be ocurring in a very thin layer that we haven't noticed yet.
  • In the absence of faceting, these crusts still make a smooth potential sliding surface for potential avalanches.

Let's watch these crusts and what develops around and on top of them. Please submit an observation if you see any faceting around these crusts, if you see any surface hoar on top of the surface crust, or if you get stability test results once we have some new snow!

Snowpack photos: 
Any other comments about the observation or links to outside pages that have more info on the observation: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
No
Cloud Cover: 
75% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Light
Precipitation: 
None
Air temperature trend: 
Static
Wind Direction: 
West
Accumulation rate: 
None
More detailed information about the weather: