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Castle Lake Area

Location Name: 
Castle Lake
Castle Lake
Date and time of observation: 
Thu, 01/27/2022 - 11:30am
Observation made by: 

Location Map

96067 Mount Shasta , CA
United States
41° 13' 13.7172" N, 122° 22' 43.3596" W
California US

Snowpack Observations


A wandering tour of the Castle Lake area. Today's intention was to have a look at the upper snowpack faceting on wind protected NW-N-NE aspects near and below treeline. Soft, sugary snow (facets) were observed in a handful of cold, shady locations. This snow is about 1-3 inches thick and on the top of the snowpack (see video). Not an issue now, tomorrow or the near future, but should we ever get snow again, it is a weak layer to keep an eye on. Most terrain above treeline has been scoured to crusts by weeks of strong wind. Snow surface texture is widespread. A few old cornices were observed broken off Middle Peak and have tumbled down the slope below. Sun warmed slopes on Right Peak were soft and enjoyable by midday. Watch for manzan-eaters! The lake is frozen and supportable, bathrooms are open, picnic tables available next to the lake. The road is in good shape.  No tracks or activity was observed on Left Peak. 

Signs of avalanche danger were nil. Signs of slide-for-life, slip/fall conditions on steep, icy slopes...yes! Ski crampons will be useful during the morning hours. Any hikers heading to Heart Lake with boots, micro-spikes or yak-traks are nice to have, but not essential.

  • Observation Location: Castle Lake
  • Elevation: ~6,000 feet
  • Date: 20220127
  • Time: 1130 hrs
  • Observer: N Meyers
  • Sky Conditions: Clear (CLR) 
  • Current Precipitation: Type - NO
  • Air Temperature: 40 °F at 1130 hours / 44 °F at 1400 hours / Low temp of 33 °F in the last 24 hours
  • Surface Penetration: Ski and boot penetration - 0 in
  • Total Snow Depth (HS): ~37.5 in
  • 24-hour New Snow Depth (HN24): none
  • 24-hour New Snow Water Equivalent (HN24W): none
  • Wind Direction: NE 
  • Wind Speed: Light (L), 1-16 mi/hr, twigs in motion


  • Ridgeline leading up to Middle Peak, above Heart Lake. Cornices often large along this stretch
  • Looking down onto Castle Lake, frozen and supportable.
  • Left Peak, view from lake level.
  • Middle Peak, from lake level.
  • Right Peak, from lake level. Some smooth and soft turns mid-day.
  • The summer trail up to Heart Lake. Very icy.
  • Snow surfaces leading up to Heart Lake...a lot of boot traffic.
  • Sheltered, northerly terrain near and below treeline held near surface facets, 2-3 inches thick. This is not a problem. If this snow still exists when we get a big storm, that is when we should be heads up.
  • Left Peak and Shasta view from Middle Peak ridge.
  • Black and white photo of the Shasta view today.


Weather Observations


Big blue sky, sunny, warm. Calm to light NE wind felt along ridges. A mild, mellow day, very tranquilo. Today's stats below from the Castle Lake weather station.


Cloud Cover: 
Blowing Snow: 
Accumulation rate: 
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Speed: 
Wind Direction: