Virginia Lakes - Black Mountain

Location Name: 
Virginia Lakes - Black Mountain
Other Area
Date and time of observation: 
Sat, 04/10/2021 - 12:00
Location Map: 

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Observation made by: Avalanche Specialist
Snowpit Observations
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Today we toured up to Black mountain via Red Lake in the Virginia Lakes area. It was a beautiful spring day with sunny skies, warm temperatures, and only light winds, even on the summit. Leaving the trailhead around 10:30 AM snow surfaces were already heating up after last night's freeze. Travelling up E and NE aspects in the trees above Red Lake, the top inch or two of snow was wet above a decent freeze. However, at 10:45 AM on a SE aspect around 10,100 ft we found snow that was already very wet and unsupportable to boots, yet still supportable to skis. As we toured up above 10,500 ft onto more easterly and northeasterly terrain, the snow became less wet and more transitional. Sunnier spots had a couple inches of wet snow above dry snow, while shadier spots only had a small layer of melt freeze grains at the surface. We dug a quick pit on an ENE aspect at 10,900 ft. The snowpack was 115 cm deep. There were a couple of centimeters of wet snow resting on dry snow to the ground. We did not observe any signifigant weak/faceted layers in the pit. The snowpack was well sintered and generally right side up with pencil hard rounds at the ground. Touring up to the summit of Black Mountain we continued to find transitional snow and great weather conditions on the peak. From the summit we could see a couple of small, likely natural, loose wet avalanches on southerly slopes above tree line that likely occurred over the last week or so. Skiing back down to Red Lake around 1PM following our ascent path we found generally pleasant riding conditions including mashed potatoes, corn, and some nearly dry snow on steeper northerlies. On steeper pitches where the snow was wettest we were only able to trigger small rollerballs. 

Virginia Lakes Road is now plowed to the Trumbull Lake Campground - nearly the end of the road. 

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