Snow conditions in VA lakes

SNOWPACK OBSERVATION
South peak
Submission Info
Forecaster
Saturday, March 21, 2020 - 2:15pm
Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
38° 2' 23.172" N, 119° 15' 19.5336" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

I toured to 11200’ on the NE side of South peak in the Virginia Lakes area today. Moderate snow was falling as we left the car at around 1230 pm and there was about 3-4” of new snow on the ground at 9700’ (5-6” @11000’).  Winds were light out of the east and the tops of the surrounding peaks were shrouded in clouds. 

 Following a well-worn skin track, we made it to our highpoint relatively quickly. Stepping off the track ski pen is right around 30 cm and probing periodically throughout our climb we found the new snow from last week’s storm has consolidated quite a bit. 40-60 cm at most above the old snow surface. Today's new snow is very low density (F hard) at upper elevations but the snow from a few days ago is upright, seems well bonded and is 4F-4F+ hard. 

We did not dig in on our tour today but probing around I found snow depths, and the new/old interface to be quite variable. Various crust layers were present in some locations with loose unconsolidated snow below, while in other the snowpack felt denser and more upright. In many areas, the only snow present was the snow from the last week. We decided not to gain the summit today after remembering the utterly bare summit from a couple of weeks ago and fearing the coverage may be too thin for safe sliding. 

We did poke out on to the shoulder in search of wind deposits and found only slightly deeper unconsolidated snow. No concerning slab development.  I suspect if the wind picks up at all overnight this may change as there is ample loose snow available for transport.

No signs of instability were observed on our descent today but I did manage to find a couple of rocks. Thin coverage remains hazardous and the fresh blanket of unconsolidated powder has made it harder to tell where the sharks are. 

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
No
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Light
Precipitation: 
Snow
Air temperature trend: 
Cooling
Wind Direction: 
East
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour
More detailed information about the weather: 

moderate snow, overcast skies, and cold temperatures were consistent throughout the day today. light easterly winds seemed to diminish throughout the afternoon with the occasional gust in the 20 mph range.

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