A quick and shallow pit to assess upper snowpack characteristics.

Credit: Crested Butte Avalanche Center

Hand pits are the simplest and quickest form of a snowpit. They can be dug dozens of times in your travels without much hassle. Hand pits are used to track the variability of specific layers that have already been tested and investigated more thoroughly in a test pit or a full snow profile. Hand pits are useful when tracking weak layers near the surface, to see how a potential slab varies spatially, or to assess the quality of a refreeze. 

Hand pits can be used to track a buried weak layer or observe changes in slab properties across the terrain. Credit: Crested Butte Avalanche Center