surface conditions in Virginia Lakes

Red Lake
Submission Info
Friday, February 28, 2020 - 12:45pm
Red Flags: 
38° 3' 2.0304" N, 119° 16' 21.5508" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Cloudy skies and chilly moderate winds were enough to keep things firm this morning in Virginia lakes.  Fearing that sniffing out soft turns would be a challenging task today I took the opportunity to get a look around at the coverage in the basin and sample the surface conditions on multiple aspects. 

As has been observed throughout the range overall things are thin, but all things considered, the little snow that is present is holding on admirably.  Probing around I found the snowpack ranged from 20 cm (and supportable) to 150 cm in a wind-loaded area above Big valley Lake. Looking around the basin most terrain above treeline is bare with strips of snow that could be linked together with some effort. Southerly facing terrain is mostly melted out with the notable exception of gully features and catchment zones. Slidable snow in the south gully on Dunderberg, for instance, has decreased in size since my last visit about 10 days ago and I think it would be a challenge to keep your skis on all the way to the car.  See photos for more details.

I traveled up and down a gully feature in Red lake bowl and found the surface snow to be hard and chattery with some minor surface faceting that kept things edge-able.  After descending back to Red lake, I made my way across the valley towards the SW side of Dunderberg. Investigating a few sheltered northerly aspects, I found large variability in surface conditions. from hard and slick to loose and faceted. And a few areas where a thin layer of loose surface snow resided on top of a slick crust that gave things a feeling of ball bearings. On solar aspects, I found extensive melt-freeze crusts and some small penitentes.  Despite air temperatures remaining above freezing until I left at 130 or so, I did not observe any surface warming, nor did I observe any signs of unstable snow. However, as I drove back down to Mammoth the cloud cover seemed to be thinning and I wouldn’t be surprised if some direct sun would have softened things up a bit.

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

It was a chilly day today with cloudy skies, Moderate to strong SW winds and temperatures in the mid to upper 30°s.


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