VA Lakes - Cold and Windy

Shoulder of Dunderberg
Submission Info
Monday, February 3, 2020 - 1:00pm
Red Flags: 
38° 4' 8.8788" N, 119° 15' 28.53" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Bloody cold and windy today!  -17°C (1.5°F) at 11,200' at 1:30pm, with a stiff north wind.  With VA lakes being the only snow sensor measuring any accumulation from yesterday/last night (a walloping 2"), decided to head there to see if I could find any wind slab of note.  N winds were blowing snow into the air over many ridges between Mammoth and VA Lakes.  Scoping the northerly and easterly aspects of the mtns from the road, everything looked heavily wind hammered: raised old tracks, etched out surfaces, with nothing appearing wind loaded thru the binoculars.  The E to SE aspect on Dunderberg were the only things that appeared could have something of concern, so headed up to the shoulder above the pack station.  ~1.5" of new snow was the most I could find that was continuous for more than a few feet in the slightly more sheltered trees.  Some VERY small pockets 3-4" were found in isolated catchment areas, that cracked when pressured (see attached photo).  Surface conditions very variable from firm wind board to melt-freeze crusts varying from 1cm thick to nearly 10cm, with thin patches of soft new snow ontop.  Under the crusts was loose faceted snow.  Nothing concerning stability wise in my travels.  I Imagine that a couloir with just the right aspect could hold a small new wind slab that would be worth looking out for.  The stiff north wind that could be felt at all elevations seemed to die down a good bit mid-afternoon.  Biggest concern today was the wind-chill on the nose and cheeks! ...and the firm surfaces.             

Snowpack photos: 
Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
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More detailed information about the weather: 

Blue skies

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