Upside down snowpack in Hillman’s
Date of Observation: January 4, 2020 3:00 PM
Location of Observation: Hillman’s Highway runout
Yesterday our party of two traveled to the base of Hillman’s Highway to practice pit digging and field observations. We chose to dig the pit in the bottom portion of Hillman’s since it’s still early season, but discussed that we wouldn’t have been hanging out in that area any later in the season this year as we were squarely in a runout zone for any large avalanches from above. We were at around 4,000 ft on a northeast aspect in the boulder field around 3 p.m. Saturday.
We found a 4 finger hard wind slab over a layer of soft snow above the ice crust. Our compression test resulted in a clean shear on the 14th tap about 30cm down in that soft snow.
Our pit was far from perfect as it was a less than ideal location due to the boulders and brush, and we were unable to conduct an ECT or a PST due to the limitations of our pit. The attached pictures show the slab and the soft weak layer.