Wind transport in the Virginia Lakes area

South Peak
Submission Info
Sunday, December 15, 2019 - 12:30pm
Red Flags: 
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
38° 2' 20.5008" N, 119° 15' 23.7312" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

It was a beautiful in Virginia lakes today. Skies were clear, temperatures were cold, and moderate winds were blowing out of the NW.  When I left the car at 11am, the temperature was 18°F, and the winds were light out of the west.  At the saddle between South peak and Mt. Olsen the temp had dropped into the single digits, and the wind was moderate out of the northwest. returning to the car at around 1pm, not much had changed, bannering was still visible on the surrounding peaks and the temperature was 20°F.


There was about 4” of low-density new snow on the ground when I left my car. I found 6-8” inches at higher elevations along my tour.  The new snow is right side up and surface conditions are quite pleasant, particularly in protected areas below tree line.  I found the rain crust from Thursday nights precipitation in play throughout the entirety of my tour and as high as 11,000’. Though at this elevation it was only a few millimeters thick and pretty weak. 


 At higher elevations I noticed quite a bit of wind transport. The winds shifted to the north this this morning and significant transport was visible throughout the area. I made my way up the northeast face of South peak and turned around at a bit over 11,000’.  The gullies on the NE face were actively cross loading and targeted observations identified isolated pockets of 5-10” wind slab that were quite sensitive. However, it appeared that the winds had only recently changed direction. Most of the fresh deposits I observed were relatively unconsolidated and had not yet had a chance to form cohesive slabs.  I suspect continued moderate winds will create more concerning wind slabs in these locations in the near future.  

Snowpack photos: 
Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 
Weather Observations
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Below Freezing
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