VA Lakes - Sensitive windslabs, recent avalanche

S. Peak
Submission Info
Monday, December 9, 2019 - 12:00pm
Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
38° 2' 22.344" N, 119° 15' 19.8972" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Headed up to VA Lakes today to see what the snowpack was like and to try and get into some alpine terrain to assess recent windslabs.  Beautiful day, calms winds down low, light SW winds with moderate gusts up high.  See attached video of snow transport across the upper slopes of S. Peak, along with video of isolated fresh sensitive windslab being triggered on edge of gully on E facing slope at 10,900'.  

Dug in a couple of places, see attached profile.  Underlying snowpack is looking quite stable, and older wind slabs in upper layers seem to be bonding well, but small isolated aras with fresher deposits are quite sensitive as can be seen from video.  

Sizeable D2 avalanche occured during the last storm's loading event on Saturday, see attached set of photos.  This wind slab avalanche started just below the ridge of S. Peak 11,400' on a northeast facing slope and the toe ended at 10,100'.  It was possibly triggered by a cornice collapse, and ripped up at least one small whitebark pine (see photo).  

Less snow here than around Mammoth for sure, with depths ranging from .5-2.5ft for the most part, and just over a meter in some areas of wind deposit.  Snow quality was superb for the most part below 11,000', but scrapped a few rocks on the way down (luckily no deep core shots!).   

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