We headed to Virginia Lakes to get a baseline sense of the snowpack at the northern end of the forecast area.
The snowpack is shallow and sharks abound.
The snowpack is weak and is developing loose, sugary grains throughout.
South and West winds left hard skins, boards, and sastrugi on the surface in exposed areas. There is soft snow in sheltered areas surrounded by trees.
We guarded against core shots and broken limbs by checking our speeds on the descent.
32*F at 10400ft around 11am.
Calm and clear conditions characteristic of stagnant high pressure. A strong inversion stayed in place with cold temps at lower elevations and above-freezing air higher upslope. The dense, thick fog around Mono Lake only partially cleared by the afternoon.
Total snow height (HS) ranged from 30cm – 60cm in drifted areas near treeline.
Westerly slopes were stripped bare by previous winds or had wind-hardened surfaces in catchments like gullies.
Northerly slopes had variable snow depth and variable surfaces – soft fragmented and faceting grains in sheltered areas and isolated wind crusts in the open.
In sheltered northerly terrain near and below treeline, the entire snowpack was loose and faceting.
Easterly slopes had thin but hard old wind drifts. These were unreactive when we stomped on them.
Southerly slopes have melted out except in gullies. The surface snow was moist melt-freeze grains.