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Gray Butte Snowpack Observations
We toured up Gray Butte from the Ski Park to assess snow conditions. It was a warm and sunny day. Gray Butte weather station recorded a high temperature of 38 degrees (F) this afternoon. The snowpack is settling in depth and gaining strength in cohesion. Tree bombs (snow releasing from branches) were plentiful in the forest. Any snow surface with a tilt toward the sourthern half of the compass was getting wet at the surface. Expect those E-SE-S-SW slopes to have crusty surface conditions tomorrow morning. The northerly aspects of Gray Butte still held colder, soft snow.
We dug a pit on a north facing slope at 7,700' down to the new/old snow interface. The old snow is from the late October/early November storms, and prior to the beginning of our last storm cycle on 12/11 those north-facing aspects near tree line consisted of a well-consolidated, pencil to knife-hard melt/freeze base with several crust/facet combinations in the upper 20cm. We dug down to this interface and observed that crust/facet layering was still present at our location but the faceted snow was rounding and gaining strength, and the crusts broken and inconsistent in distribution and thickness. At our pit location those layers were buried 115cm down, underneath a thick F/4F/1F layer of recent storm snow. No whumpfing, cracking, or other signs of instability were observed. We did not see any avalanches or signs of previous avalanches. And we did not observe any wet-loose activity or pinwheels/rollerballs on southern aspects. Above tree line on the mountain there was some wind transport visible along ridgelines, with winds blowing from the west and loading east aspects with wind-transported snow. All in all our snowpack is shaping up nicely so far this early season.
- Observation Location: Gray Butte
- Elevation: 7,700'
- Date: 20211218
- Time: 1400
- Observer: Lazzeri/Meyers
- Sky Conditions: Clear (CLR)
- Current Precipitation: NO
- Air Temperature: 33 °F
- Surface Penetration: Ski penetration: 20 cm -- boot penetration: 70cm
- Total Snow Depth (HS): 180 cm
- 24-hour New Snow Depth (HN24): 0
- 24-hour New Snow Water Equivalent (HN24W): 0
- Wind Direction: W
- Wind Speed: Light
- Column & Block Tests:
- Slope Angle: 30 degrees
- Aspect: North
- CT 23 BRK old/new interface 115cm down