January 27, 2020, Snow Lake

1/27/20
WA Snoqualmie Pass
772
3
Posted by kamtron on 1/27/20 8:33am
Meira and I took a tour to Snow Lake and were pleasantly surprised. On the shaded slopes the 4" of new was light enough and the crust underneath supportive enough for fun, fast turns. Returning to Source was another story but I'll take survivable wet railroad tracks snow over trap crust any day.

Creeks and holes opened a lot since the cold weather. We saw a lot of avalanche debris from the recent cycle, but the only instability noted was roller balls on steep solar slopes and tree bombs. There were copious snow insects as well.

I was glad to enjoy the day out. Now let's have some colder storms and get back to winter.
Nice shots. From the way the rain featuring shows up in that shot of skiing to toward the  lake, it looks  like that 4" must have fallen with little or no wind.
2020-02-04 15:40:07
Jim Oker
Nice.  We were there on Sunday (on the Pineapple Pass side) and had nice skiing too.  What's up with the snow insects - are you collecting them?  I have seen them on the snow and always wondered whether these are stragglers destined to die or insects adapted to snow?  What do they eat?
2020-02-04 15:50:58
PS44
Jim--We didn't notice any wind effect in the elevations we traveled, although I heard from someone later that Pineapple pass had got hit with the wind.

Pavel--Our friend John (Lonnie Butthill on the forum) and a postdoc Sydney in his group are doing a project to study snow flies of the genus Chionea. They are adapted to cold and are mostly only found on snow. The idea is to study how their neurophysiology (chemistry etc.) is adapted to cold. It appears their neurons can function at much lower temperatures than normal animal neurons. Some of the other kinds of insects you see on snow are definitely stragglers or guys that got blown up into the mountains, but some seem to belong there. I've seen lots of little spiders and also springtails which like the snow. It doesn't seem like the adult Chionea eat at all, but nobody is entirely sure.

Learn more and consider helping out with the project here:
https://depts.washington.edu/snowflyproject/
http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=42310.0

It was a great albeit late first Snow lake tour of the season
2020-02-04 20:24:32
kamtron

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