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hammer time

By ccrossen | December 17, 2012

Here we go… lots of storms and snow on the way. Very windy and raining/snowing Monday morning in Tahoe. Winds are pegged at 45mph with gusts up to 90 right now. Messy. We will see temps drop considerably by mid-day and the snow should start then, 6-12 inches up high by Tues. am. We have a break until Thursday, and then we see a good size system bear down on us. This next big one should last 4-5 days and bring anywhere from 2-4 feet of snow at lake level and 6-8 up high. Models are a little bit divergent, but we’re going to get a fair amount of snow, in the least, no matter what happens, with colder temps and it should be game on to all elevations by Christmas. After the holiday, we have continued storms rolling through until New Years. Things are looking very good. And we need it. Up high we have a great base 70-80″ that is not going anywhere at all, but down low, it’s very very thin until about 6800-7000′. And then remarkably deep above 7500-8000.


From a backcountry perspective, it’s still all about elevation. The skiing has been excellent on most aspects for the past five days, though we saw the winds pick up considerably Sat/Sun, creating a number of wind slabs at higher elevations. Where the snow hasn’t loaded, bonding is decent, but not great. This wind slab layer sits on top of a very supportable rain crust layer (Dec. 2 layer).  Depending on how the rain/snain/snow comes in today, we could see a heightened avy scenario. And this could presist if we receive large amounts of snow during the next week. Below the rain crust layer is a faceted layer (www.sierraavalanchecenter.org), that can cause problems if loaded “correctly.” This crust layer exists to approx. 10000′, however, it becomes weaker and weaker with elevation. So we shall see how this plays out during the next few days; be sure to stay informed and check out what is happening next time you get out there.

Enjoy.

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