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Break In The Storms - Gray Butte

Location Name: 
Gray Butte
Mt. Shasta
Date and time of observation: 
Mon, 01/09/2023 - 12:00pm
Observation made by: 
Red Flags:
Recent avalanche activity
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
Rapid warming

Location Map

96067 Mount Shasta , CA
United States
41° 20' 48.9336" N, 122° 11' 49.7904" W
California US

Snowpack Observations


Expecting storm conditions with strong winds, our party chose to spend the day on Gray Butte. The objective today was to assess instabilities on multiple aspects and get a snow profile near treeline. At Mount Shasta Ski Park, we were surprised by light winds and blue sky making an appearance. The sun began to poke out, and surface conditions warmed quickly. Below 7,000 feet, roller balls, shedding trees, and sticky surface conditions were all obvious signs of strong radiant heat. Above 7,000 feet, surface conditions were colder, trees were completely rimed up, and large wind drifts were found on westerly aspects. Broken trees were seen all across upper Gray Butte from previous strong winds.

A pit was dug on the west face of Gray Butte, mid-slope (~7500 feet) with a NW aspect. Snow depth was 255 cm (100 inches), the pit profile represents the upper 189 cm. Overall, well consolidated recent storm snow was found. No instabilities in the snowpack were observed. I got an ECTX result and a shovel shear test showed no obvious failure planes.

On a different note, a decent amount of debris was found in the runout of the west face of Gray Butte, skiers right of the pit site. The widespread nature and volume of debris warrants a future mission to see the crown. 

  • Observation Location: Gray Butte
  • Elevation: 8,100 feet
  • Date: 20230109
  • Time: 1200
  • Observer: S. Clairmont and N. Meyers
  • Sky Conditions: Broken (BKN)
  • Current Precipitation: Type - NO
  • Air Temperature: 32 °F
  • Total Snow Depth (HS): 100 in (255 cm)
  • 24-hour New Snow Depth (HN24): 8 in (20 cm)
  • 24-hour New Snow Water Equivalent (HN24W): 1.3 in (3.3 cm)
  • Wind Direction: S
  • Wind Speed: Calm (C), 0 mi/hr
  • Column & Block Tests:
    • Slope Angle & Aspect (33º, NW)
    • ECTX


  • Snow surface conditions
  • Settling cracks
  • Near the summit of Gray Butte

Weather Observations


Cloud Cover: 
75% of the sky covered by clouds
Blowing Snow: 
Accumulation rate: 
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Speed: 
Wind Direction: