Dust on Crust at Virginia Lakes

Location Name: 
Far SE gully on Dunderberg Peak
Date and time of observation: 
Mon, 01/25/2021 - 12:00
Location Map: 

Red Flags: 
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

Observation made by: Public
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Toured up at Virginia Lakes this afternoon (01/25/2021) to check out the dust on crust. We skied a southeast facing gully on the far east side of Dunderberg Peak. There were approximately three inches of new snow at lower elevations in protected trees (9500’ – 10000’). At the time of our tour (1130 – 1400) clouds were broken and conditions alternated between light to moderate snowfall and respites of brief sun. Total new snow accumulation during our tour was about 1 cm. Wind speeds were light in the gully but increased to moderate speed on the ridgetop, blowing from the northeast.

Snow coverage was minimal but provided a few fun turns of dust on crust.  On exposed south facing aspects, 2-4” of new low-density snowfall barely covered rocks and grass. We found continuous snow coverage in protected and previously wind-loaded areas. In these areas, new snow sits on top of a hard sun crust. In areas with less sun exposure, the sun crust was thinner and more breakable. Ski crampons were useful to avoid sliding on steeper slopes. Above 10,500’ we observed isolated pockets of wind-loaded snow up to 8” deep. On convex test slopes in wind-loaded areas we observed cracks propagating up to 5’.

TLDR: 2-4” dust on crust with small isolated wind slabs

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
75% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour