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Castle Lake

Location Name: 
Right Peak
Castle Lake
Date and time of observation: 
Wed, 03/15/2023 - 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° 13' 49.998" N, 122° 23' 26.9016" W
California US

Snowpack Observations


These observations were taken over the course of a few hours, between about 5,000 feet and the top of Right Peak, at about 6,300 feet.

Making our way up from the gate and past Methodist Camp, we found about 8-9 inches of new snow from day prior and last night. On our way up, massive rain runnels were visible everywhere there was an exposed slope. The atmospheric river that delivered large amounts of rain to Mount Shasta and the surrounding area had clearly made its presence known up here as well. When we dug down there is an obvious 4-6 cm-thick rain crust, about 33 cm below the surface. This crust was evident on all aspects and areas, even up to the very top of Right Peak.

As we neared the parking lot and started to get our first views of the back side of the lake, avalanche debris was everywhere. Evidence of wet loose slides was in abundance, with 8-9 inches of fresh snow on top of the debris. Some prominent crowns were visible at the top of the Pinner Chute, as well as in a few other places. The heavy rains appear to have overloaded the snowpack and brought a fair amount of the snow down to the lake.

The southern aspects we toured up held the same 8-9 inches of new snow, but even just the morning's sun was already starting to have a profound effect, with the snow becoming heavier and stickier by the minute. From the saddle we were able to cut back around to the west and even a bit to the north, where the same snow is staying much lighter.

A good old-fashioned "burp the baby" test on the north side revealed a weakness at an almost imperceptible layer change within the top 30 cm of new snow, about 23 cm down. This was only evident on isolation however, and no amount of repeated jumping or ski-cutting on exposed test slopes caused any reaction in the snowpack whatsoever.

We were unable to get above the rain/snow line from Sunday-Monday rains, so I will be very curious to see what the snowpack looks like higher up, where all that precip fell as snow instead of water.


  • Observation Location: Castle Lake
  • Elevation: ~5,000 - 6,200 feet
  • Date: 20230315
  • Time: 0900 - 1600
  • Observer: Casey
  • Sky Conditions: Few clouds
  • Current Precipitation: None
  • Surface Penetration: Ski penetration (PS) = 8 in, boot penetration (PF) = [?] in ([?] cm)
  • 24-hour New Snow Depth (HN24): 8 in
  • Wind Speed: Light
  • Column & Block Tests:
    • Slope Angle & Aspect 25 degrees - northwest aspect
    • ECT
    • CT24 - RP  ↓ 23 cm



Weather Observations


Cloud Cover: 
25% of the sky covered by clouds
Blowing Snow: 
Accumulation rate: 
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Speed: 
Wind Direction: