Wind slab formation in Virginia Lakes area

South Peak-VA Lakes
Submission Info
Friday, December 27, 2019 - 10:45am
Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
Obvious avalanche path
South Peak 38° 2' 25.4148" N, 119° 15' 12.9024" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Went to South Peak in Virginia Creek to check on snow transport from last night's wind.  I was curious to see if conditions and stability had changed since yesterday's visit by an ESAC forecaster. We left the parking at 9:30 AM. Air temp=12°F. Snow transport over Dunderburg Peak from the Northesast wind (see photo). The wind over ridgetops only increased during the day, although the lower flanks of South Peak (below 10,500ft) stayed fairly protected all day with no surface transport seen. Looking up canyon, the winds in the basin looked swirling and strong at times. 
We first toured to ~11,000ft on the NE ridge of South Peak. Yesterday's skin track was completely covered in some places (see photo). Stomping on some small convexities produced localized cracking and soft, forming wind slabs (5-10cm thick).  Snow in less exposed areas showed no wind affect and yesterday's ski turns showed only little evidence of being blown in overnight. Slopes above our stopping point looked textured and wind affected. 

We skiied several laps on NE aspects of South Peak. Very low density snow, 40cm deep. Many subsurface obstacles were encountered. Some minor sloughing in spots (1cm deep). Around 245pm the wind over South Peak shifted from N to W-NW.  Lots of snow being moved around up high today.


Snowpack photos: 
Wind deposited snow in yesterday's skin track
Snow transport over Dunderburg Peak
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
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Below Freezing
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