Virginia Lakes Snow Conditions

Location Name: 
Moat Lake Cirque
Date and time of observation: 
Thu, 01/03/2019 - 12:30
Location Map: 

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

Went for a survey of the Virginia Lakes to understand our existing snowpack. 

SE-W aspects are sporting a sun crust varying from breakable on SE to supportable on S-W aspects. We observed the remnants of isolated loose wet avalanches from yesterday (1/2/19) but witnessed no new wet avalanche activity today.  

Shady and protected slopes below 10.5K are harboring some isolated areas of surface hoar (1-3mm), although the sun was doing a good job of destroying it. The surface in these areas is moderately weak; after over a week without new snow and a handful of clear nights.   Surface faceting may occur.

Snow surfaces on shady aspects (NW-E) above treeline vary from hard, supportable wind board to thin breakable crust and are highly spatially variable.  We dug a snow pit on a NE aspect at 10600' sporting a thin wind crust (4-6cm breakable) overlaying weak near surface facets.  This crust/facet combo was relatively widespread in the area of our pit and is currently lacking a slab on top, but has all the additional components necessary to facilitate an avalanche.  It is present on many typically lee aspects where additional snow accumulates from wind transport. 

We did observe another weak interface 15-20cm beneath the snow surface that did not seem especially problematic.  I’ve identified the same layer in snow pits in the BWRA, but it has remained nonreactive thus far.   


2. Snow pit location above Moat Lake

3. Small surface hoar

4. Day old wet loose activity

5-7. Current coverage around Virginia Lakes



Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Accumulation rate: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

Calm winds observed throughout the day including at our high elevation of 10,600'.  Just below freezing temps in the shade mid day and HOT in the sun.