Observation: Girdwood

Location: Magpie

Route & General Observations
Broke trail for the the standard uptrack to Magpie lower apron and into the upper bowl. Noticed the snowpack seemed shallower than usual in the lower apron, probed around at 2700 feet and found the snow depth to be only 140-160 cm. Noted surface hoar on top of the snow in the lower apron, between 2700-3500 feet. A number of loose avalanches were observed on the south facing steep terrain above the lower apron, D1 in size. A few hand shears at 3500 feet released cleanly with moderate force on what appeared to be buried surface hoar about 60cm below the snow surface. Higher in the upper bowl, around 4000 feet, we did not find the same clean release of hand shears.
Solar effect was widely present today on south to east aspects between 2500-4500 feet. Snow was beginning to transform on the east facing skinner around noon-1pm. We dug hand shears without incident and felt around on the snow on a steeper slope in the upper bowl, but we noticed a few wet loose point releases coming down from the steep rocks and turned back. Two other groups were on solar aspects when we skied out. In the lower bowl around 2pm, now in the shade on the 25-30* east facing slope, the snow that we noted transforming during our tour was sporting a solid sun crust. We skied skier’s right of the lower apron, which remained in shadow all day, and had delightful, dry snow turns.
As we descended, we noticed flagging on the ridgelines in upper Crow Creek.
Overall, beautiful day with LOTS of sunshine.
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