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You couldn't buy an avalanche today in the Castle Lake area. Heavy fog, mist, poor visibility and a stiff north wind was the soup de jour, near treeline and above. Not a lick of loose snow is available for wind transport. The snowpack is heavily affected by rain and warm temps. Rain runnels dominate on all aspects. Snow surfaces range from firm to soft crust, mushy wet snow, firm wind blown...you get the picture...nasty. The top 1–2 inches of the snowpack is moist to wet.
A few small, old avalanche crown lines could be seen in steep terrain below Middle Peak. Old loose, wet roller balls were also observed. Small cornices are beginning to form off the Middle Peak ridge. Coverage is still decent...we just need a refresh of the fresh!
Despite the lake's blue tint and soft look, it was supportable to walk on and with cooling temps, I am not concerned about unstable lake ice...but that's not our department anyway.
- Observation Location: Castle Lake
- Elevation: 6,500 feet
- Date: 12.31.2022
- Time: 1130
- Observer: N Meyers
- Sky Conditions: Obscured (X), heavy fog, mist, wet
- Current Precipitation: Type - NO
- Air Temperature: 35 °F
- Surface Penetration: Ski penetration (PS) = 5 in, boot penetration (PF) = 5-10 in
- Total Snow Depth (HS): 185 cm / 6 feet
- 24-hour New Snow Depth (HN24): none
- 24-hour New Snow Water Equivalent (HN24W): n/a
- Wind Direction: North
- Wind Speed: Moderate (M), 17-25 mi/hr, small trees sway
- Column & Block Tests:
- Slope Angle & Aspect: 34º, NE
Past 24-hour weather data from Castle Lake weather station: