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Avalanche Forecast for 2020-12-06 06:40

  • EXPIRED ON December 7, 2020 @ 6:40 am
    Published on December 6, 2020 @ 6:40 am
  • Issued by Ryan Sorenson - Mount Shasta Avalanche Center

Backcountry travel in the shallow, early season snowpack means dealing with rock and tree hazards everywhere. The avalanche danger is LOW. Avalanches are not possible at this time due to a thin snowpack. Now is the time to brush up on your avalanche rescue skills, practice identifying potential avalanche terrain and get your gear dialed. 

Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

Avalanche Problem 1: Normal Caution

  • Character ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?
  • Likelihood ?
    Very Likely

Avalanche danger is LOW. Exercise normal caution. Finding consistent snow is challenging right now. Watch out for many not-so-hidden obstacles. Get back into the avalanche awareness mindset. Use safe travel techniques and always bring your beacon, shovel and probe and most importantly, know how to use them. 

The current situation at Horse Camp, south side of Mount Shasta, 7,950 feet on 12/5/20.  [Photo: Sorenson]

Forecast Discussion

A quick message about climbing Mount Shasta currently as we've had a number of recent inquiries. This is not the time to climb the mountain. One could make a good argument that conditions are at their worst. It's a bitter cold, slippery rock and icy mess on most routes. Existing snow on the north and east sides routes is bulletproof which makes for dangerous slide-for-life conditions. South and west routes need snow to cover up the rocks. Day hikes on the lower half of the mountain are within reason, but we advise planning your main climbing trip for spring when conditions are primo!

Thanks to everyone that joined us at our first virtual Know Before You Go avalanche awareness presentation and the companion rescue clinic this weekend. We had a good showing and we are excited to share the stoke!

Still looking to freshen up your avalanche rescue skills? Check out this video for a quick explanation of companion rescue:

Recent Observations

A few folks have been touring on snow covered roads above 6,500 feet. This includes the Sand Flat winter cross-country ski trails and the Everitt Memorial Highway past the closed gate at Bunny Flat. Some have ventured off-piste up higher in the Old Ski Bowl where a 14 inch base resides. 

A quick hike up to Horse Camp yesterday observed 12 inches (32 cm) of snow. The trail is packed with snow mixed with icy spots. Off trail snow surfaces are variable. Unshaded areas have developed a breakable crust. Below that, a few crusts are intermingled with sugary facets. Wind textured bulletproof snow remains in exposed areas above treeline. Colder, low-lying areas hosting sugary, faceted snow. Keep an eye on areas where this weak snow exists before our first big storm. 

There is no usable snowpack at Castle Lake and temperatures have been staying mostly above freezing. Heart Lake is frozen and local backcountry ice skaters have been enjoying this. Castle Lake and Cliff Lake are not frozen at this time.

Roads are free and clear of snow/ice to Bunny Flat and Castle Lake trailheads. The gate is closed at Bunny Flat and snow exists on the road past the gate, up into the Old Ski Bowl. Sand Flat winter trails are open. Cross-country skiing is possible but conditions marginal. Pilgrim Creek snowmobile park is open, but very little snow exists.

Weather and Current Conditions

Weather Summary

There will be a slight chance of lingering snow flurries this morning then mostly sunny conditions will return. While this system wasn’t quite the powder burst we are all dreaming of, it did suffice to mix things up and bring temperatures down. Expect mostly clear skies and steady cool temperatures in the 20s ℉ tonight. Another micro blip of moisture will shear off and race through our area Monday. No precipitation out of this one. Expect partly cloudy skies and warmer temperatures approaching 40℉. We are back to sunny skies, inversions and light easterly flow this week.

24 Hour Weather Station Data @ 6:00 AM

Weather Station Temp (°F) Wind (mi/hr) Snow (in) Comments
Cur Min Max Avg Avg Max Gust Dir Depth New Water Equivalent Settlement
Mt. Shasta City (3540 ft) 36 25 51 41 2 N
Sand Flat (6750 ft) 29 29 43 35 9 0 0 0
Ski Bowl (7600 ft) 25 25 42 33.5 14 0 0 0
Gray Butte (8000 ft) 24.5 24.5 42.5 32 11 43 WNW
Castle Lake (5870 ft) 29.5 29 43 36 6 0 1.5
Mount Eddy (6509 ft) 26.5 26.5 40.5 35.5 1 7 S 10.4 0 0
Ash Creek Bowl (7250 ft) n/a
Ash Creek Ridge (7895 ft) n/a

Two Day Mountain Weather Forecast

Produced in partnership with the Medford NWS

For 7000 ft to 9000 ft
(4 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
Sunday Night
(10 p.m. to 4 a.m.)
(4 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
Weather Slight chance of rain and snow this morning, then mostly sunny. Snow level near 5,000 feet. Mostly clear. Steady cool temperatures in the 20s. Partly Cloudy. Not as cool.
Temperature (°F) 32 26 40
Wind (mi/hr) Northeast 5-15 Northeast 5-15 East 5-15
Precipitation SWE / Snowfall (in) 0.00 / 0 0.00 / 0 0.00 / 0
For 9000 ft to 11000 ft
  Sunday Sunday Night Monday
Weather Slight chance of snow this morning, then mostly sunny. Mostly clear. Partly Cloudy.
Temperature (°F) 25 20 33
Wind (mi/hr) North 20-25 Northeast 30-35 Northeast 20-25
Precipitation SWE / Snowfall (in) 0.00 / 0 0.00 / 0 0.00 / 0

Season Precipitation for Mount Shasta City

Period Measured (in) Normal (in) Percent of Normal (%)
From Oct 1, 2023 (the wet season) 1.70 8.49 20
Month to Date (since Jun 1, 2024) 0.00 1.13 0
Year to Date (since Jan 1, 2024) 14.61 36.49 40


This forecast does not apply to Ski Areas or Highways and is for the Mt. Shasta, Castle Lake and Mt. Eddy backcountry. Use this information for guidance only. You may find different conditions in the backcountry and should travel accordingly. This forecast expires 24 hours after the posted time unless otherwise noted.