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Avalanche Forecast for 2021-03-27 06:12

  • EXPIRED ON March 28, 2021 @ 6:12 am
    Published on March 27, 2021 @ 6:12 am
  • Issued by Nick Meyers - Shasta-Trinity National Forest

Today is the warmest day of the weekend with mostly calm and variable wind. Use normal caution in the backcountry. The danger is low, but keep an eye out for isolated wind slabs and loose-wet avalanches in steep terrain. On the upper mountain, expect rockfall to be more active than normal this spring due to a shallow snowpack. Wear a helmet.

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
  • Size ?
    Very Large

The avalanche danger will stay much the same over this period of high pressure. Continue to plan for firm conditions in the morning with softening in the afternoon on select slopes. You might see some loose roller balls and pinwheels on sunny, lower elevation slopes. If so, it's be best to pick a different aspect or come back earlier next time. Mt. Shasta is also on the receiving end of a lot of wind, so always pay attention for small, isolated slabs

Forecast Discussion

Climbing Mount Shasta is a serious endeavor, despite being located 15 minutes off the interstate. Climbers become lost, injured or die every year. We are fast approaching prime time climbing season, typically April through June. Spring can host a mix of weather: snow, sun, wind, rain all in a day is possible. Plan and prepare properly! With precipitation near 50% of normal for Mt. Shasta City this winter, snow coverage is less than ideal. Certainly there will be some fantastic climbing and skiing days this Spring, but expect more rockfall than usual, which means increased risk on most routes. Wear a helmet and know how to use your ice axe and crampons. A slip and fall on snow that terminates into boulders is bad news. We never want to discourage adventures, but we do want to strive for safety and responsibility in the mountains. Lastly, it is required to pack out your human waste in the Mt. Shasta Wilderness. Free waste bags are provided at all open trailheads. Rangers pack out hundreds of pounds of trash (and poo) off the mountain each year. For the love of the outdoors, please pick up all your big (and micro) trash and use the human waste packout bags, please and THANK YOU! For info on permits and passes, click here.

The view from Green Butte ridge yesterday, ~10,000 feet. Above, looking up the ridge into Avalanche Gulch and the frosty Trinity Chutes center. Below, looking over at the wind scoured Helen Lake, with dry camping available already. Typically, Helen Lake isn't melted out until months from now. {3.26.21 Photos: Meyers}

Recent Observations

  • In the past 24 hours at 8,000 feet near treeline on Mt Shasta, wind speeds have averaged 4 mi/hr with gusts to 25 mi/hr and a predominant wind direction out of the southeast. Current temperature at 0500 is 39.5 °F with a low of 22.5 °F and high of 40.5 °F. At treeline, approximately 75-85 inches of snow is on the ground with less above treeline due to a windy winter. We apologize as our Old Ski Bowl weather station is down due to electrical issues.
  • On the west side of the interstate, the current temperature at 0500 is 36.5 °F with a low of 23 °F and high of 48.5 °F.
  • No recent avalanche activity
  • Smooth and firm conditions on the mountain. Glaciers host large patches of ice. Self-arrest is difficult/impossible in some areas. 
  • Snow surfaces are painters palette of choices: firm, smooth and buttery, breakable and supportable crusts, moist chalk, most powder, spring corn(ish), scabby, wind blown sastrugi textures and a bunch of rock mixed in over morainal convexities. Coverage is best below and near treeline. Exposed terrain has been incessantly battered by the wind, stripping our precious spring snowpack away.
  • Trailhead access (full observation with photos here.)
    • Bunny-plowed and open year-round
    • Clear Creek - access to intersection of Clear Creek and Pilgrim Creek roads, leaving 8 miles of snow covered roads to the trailhead.
    • Brewer Creek - 15+ miles of snow covered roads to the trailhead, access to just a few miles past Pilgrim Creek Sno-Park.
    • Northgate - 4.1 miles to trailhead, access 3.9 miles up Military Pass, snow level ~5,000 feet.
  • Observation from Green Butte Ridge, Helen Lake and Upper Avalanche Gulch here.

Weather and Current Conditions

Weather Summary

Clear and dry for the foreseeable future. Today should be a splendid day of full sun and the warmest of the weekend. Wind will be light and variable, perhaps a little breezy over ridge tops near and above treeline. A cold front will pass through Sunday afternoon bringing temperatures down, but nothing very winter like. Wind will increase out of the west/southwest.

Sunscreen, flip-flops, post activity beverage? Check. Recreational stress? Check!!

24 Hour Weather Station Data @ 11:00 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) 32 28 58 43.5 3
Sand Flat (6750 ft) 26 17 43 31 Snow sensor down
Ski Bowl (7600 ft) Station Down
Gray Butte (8000 ft) 40 22.5 40.5 34 4 25 SE
Castle Lake (5870 ft) 37.5 23 48.5 37.5 74.7 0.3 0
Mount Eddy (6509 ft) 41 24.5 46 39 2 6 SE 73.1 0 1.3
Ash Creek Bowl (7250 ft) 37.5 18 37.5 25.5 73.7 0 0.7
Ash Creek Ridge (7895 ft) 33 14.5 37 28.5 5 17 WNW

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.)
Saturday Night
(10 p.m. to 4 a.m.)
(4 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
Weather Sunny, light and variable wind Clear with calm wind, becoming southwest after midnight Sunny
Temperature (°F) 54 33 50
Wind (mi/hr) Northeast 0-5 Southwest 5-10 Southwest 10-15
Precipitation SWE / Snowfall (in) 0.00 / 0 0.00 / 0 0.00 / 0
For 9000 ft to 11000 ft
  Saturday Saturday Night Sunday
Weather Sunny and breezy Mostly clear Sunny and windy
Temperature (°F) 32 32 33
Wind (mi/hr) North 10-15 West 10-15 West 25-35
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, 2022 (the wet season) 17.15 34.79 49
Month to Date (since Sep 1, 2023) 3.57 5.29 67
Year to Date (since Jan 1, 2023) 13.57 19.58 69


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.