VA Lakes - New snow, sensitive windslab

S. Peak
Submission Info
Saturday, January 6, 2018 - 12:30pm
Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
Obvious avalanche path
38° 2' 25.0836" N, 119° 15' 17.01" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Toured up to ~11,200' up the NE face of S. Peak (~250' below summit due to rocky thin coverage)  Windy day up around VA Lakes, with moderate SW to W winds.  Light snow throughout the day.  A bit over 6" of new by mid afternoon in sheltered locations.  Slightly above freezing at 10,000' at mid-day.  -1.5deg C at 11,000' at 12:30.  No signs of rain above 8,500'.  Despite winds, could not find wind deposits greater than ~25cm up to 11,200' on NE facing slope (not to say there are not!  Just not where we looked).  Pockets of wind deposits on N. facing edge of gully at 11,000' failed upon isolation during hand pit tests ~4" down (see attached video).  

Pit at 10,800', exposed NNE facing slope:  Total snow depth=90cm; New snow=16-20cm (wind exposed area); Test results: ECTN25 36cm down in facet layer below 3rd melt/freeze crust down from surface, ECTX, CT22Q2 17cm down in facet layer under pre-storm surface melt/freeze crust.  Test results were not consistent in this location.

Pit at 9,800' on NNE facing 25deg slope in open area between trees.  See attached.  ECTN Q3, CTMs Q2, Q3 in facet layer below old melt freeze surface.

Below 10,200' at 2pm snow was slightly setting up and sluggish, above this, light and cold.  

Thin but supportabe coverage from car heading south toward S. Peak on northerly facing slopes.  S. facing aspects north of rd were quick thin, not much old snow under today's new ... quite dodgy and scratchy, save for some old deposit areas if you know where to look for them.  Otherwise, not good for your skis.  


Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 
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