Observation: Portage / Placer

Location: Placer Valley

Route & General Observations

Rode into Placer Valley and up into an area called Squirrel above the Spencer Bench cabin. High point was 4,000′ up an un-named glacier.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Observer Comments

No signs of instability seen.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

Partly cloudy, temps in the low teens in Placer Valley and felt like low 20'sF above 15,000'.
Winds were calm... great day to be out!

Snow surface

From sea level to 1,000' around 1-1.5 feet of snow over ice or a hard crust.
From 1,000' and above soft settled powder. Boot penetration around 20".


Wind ripples were evident on Comet Pk (see photo) and one natural wind slab was seen on the north aspect of Comet Pk (see photo) that likely occurred in the past couple days.

Total snow pack depths were 2-3 feet below 1,000' then at 2,000' around 5-6' of total depth. From 2,000' to 4,000' total depth seemed to vary from 2 to 10 feet pending wind effect from prior storms. Essentially, the higher elevations didn't seem to be much deep than the mid.

Dug one pit at 2,200'. Snow depth 6 feet, west aspect
No weakness found in top meter. The Dec 1 crust was around 1cm thick with another thin crust right underneath. No weakness found around these crusts. Also of note, probing did not show any obvious signs of weak snow at the bottom of the pack. This was a bit surprising, in a good way. Overall good stability was observed today.

Photos & Video
Please upload photos below. Maximum of 5 megabytes per image. Click here for help on resizing images. If you are having trouble uploading please email images separately to staff.