THIS SNOWPACK SUMMARY EXPIRED ON January 19, 2021 @ 7:48 am
Snowpack Summary published on January 17, 2021 @ 7:48 am
Issued by Jason Mozol - Bridgeport Avalanche Center

bottom line:

Generally safe conditions exist, areas of unstable snow may be present in isolated terrain. Triggering an avalanche is unlikely. The recent warm weather has created variable surface conditions from icy, wave-like ridges to wet snow on south to east aspects. Navigating the low tide snowpack and patchwork of different surface textures and avoiding rocks is the biggest hazard in the mountains currently.  Now is a great time to brush up on beacon skills and practice using the daily flow to help manage risk in the backcountry.


The BWRA remains closed to motorized recreation due to low snow depths in Sardine Meadows and the Leavitt Lake/108 junction. The BWRA is open to non-motorized use. If you are going to recreate, please be responsible and avoid off-road motorized riding.  Virginia Lakes road remains clear and open. Please park respectfully.

Avalanche Character 1: Normal Caution
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Use normal caution when travelling in the backcountry.

Unstable snow may still exist in isolated pockets of the terrain. Spring-like daytime temperatures reaching 54 F have created areas of damp to wet snow on south to east aspects above 9,000 ft.   With night time lows well above freezing, the snow surface warms rapidly on sun-exposed slopes.  Temperatures have remained above freezing the last four days at Leavitt lake. On northerly aspects, expect to find a pot pourri of firm icy surfaces and breakable crusts. Avalanche activity remains unlikely even though there is weak snow buried near the bottom of the snowpack.  

Normal caution doesn't mean no caution, beacon, shovel, probe and safe travel practices are essential when entering avalanche terrain.


Snowpack Discussion

 Recently snowpack conditions have been similar between the Virginia Lakes region and the BWRA. South aspects have been affected by the above average temperatures and in certain places has wet snow to the ground. BAC staff found snow wet enough to post hole through on the SE gully of Dunderberg at 11k.North aspects which receive less influence from the sun have had a moist snow on the surface extending down 10cm. Surface conditions are variable throughout the area. Weather in the next few days will impact how the snowpack is influenced by new snowfall.  Which is forecasted at the end of the week.

recent observations

 Virginia Lake snow pit revealed facets that are beginning to round as a result from the effects of recent warm weather.


Leavitt Lake had a 50F daytime temperature reading. No sign of loose wet instability in the area.


Snowpack is thin on the south aspects.  Wet snow was present from the surface to the ground.

CURRENT CONDITIONS Weather observations from Sonora Pass
0600 temperature: 38 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 49 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: ESE
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 20 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 42 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: 38 inches

 A stable weather pattern has persisted in the Eastern Sierra over the last few weeks. As the  blocking ridge of High pressure exits. A more active weather pattern is likely this week. Some snow flurries may enter our region tomorrow, but the most significant impacts will be from the damaging winds that are forecast. Ridge tops may reach 150mph while lower elevations may see sustained 40-50 mph wind. Wind direction will be from the NE, this event may be reminiscent of the Devils Postpile (Devils Wind) blow down in November, 2011. Temperatures will begin to trend down Tuesday, hopefully snowfall later in the week.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8000 ft. to 10000 ft.
  Sunday Sunday Night Monday
Weather: Sunny Clear then becoming partly cloudy Mostly cloudy then becoming sunny. Chance of snow in the morning
Temperatures: 44 to 54 deg. F. 23 to 29 deg. F. 30 to 38 deg. F.
Wind direction: North North North
Wind speed: Light 15 mph with gusts to 35 mph after midnight 15 to 30 mph. Gusts up to 45 mph increasing to 55 mph in the afternoon
Expected snowfall: None in. None in. up to 1 inch in.
For above 10000 ft.
  Sunday Sunday Night Monday
Weather: Sunny Clear then becoming partly cloudy Mostly cloudy then becoming sunny. Chance of snow through the day
Temperatures: 37 to 45 deg. F. 17-22 deg. F. 23-31 deg. F.
Wind direction: North Northwest North
Wind speed: North around 15 mph with gusts to 30 mph 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 35 mph 25 to 35 mph increasing to 30 to 45 mph in the afternoon. Gusts up to 65 mph
Expected snowfall: None in. None in. Up to 1 inch in.

This snowpack summary applies only to backcountry areas in the Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area. Click here for a map of the area. This snowpack summary describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This snowpack summary expires in 48 hours unless otherwise noted. The information in this snowpack summary is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.