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Graupel Layer Found at Castle Lake

Location Name: 
Castle Lake
Castle Lake
Date and time of observation: 
Mon, 12/12/2022 - 2:30pm
Observation made by: 
Red Flags:
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

Location Map

96067 Mount Shasta , CA
United States
41° 14' 18.726" N, 122° 22' 20.8596" W
California US

Snowpack Observations


Yesterday (12/12/2022) I headed out with the objective to asses the snow conditions near Castle Lake and visit the weather station.  At 5,530ft, on a NW aspect, I dug a snowpit and found the same weak graupel layer that produced large avalanche's off of Gray Butte and Coyote Butte, over the weekend. This is the second area in the forecast zone where this layer has been found.  Although graupel is not a persistent weak layer due to its quick healing nature and inability to fall uniformly, this does not excuse it from being problematic or long-lived. Graupel tends to roll with gravity and build up in pockets of terrain features like gullies, concavities, chutes, and below cliff bands. This hints that layers of graupel could be hidden beneath the new snow in specific locations. Test results: PST 40/100 (END) ↓80cm SC.

 You cannot drive up to Castle at this point (12/12/2022). I skinned the road from the gate and wiggled through the trees to gain my high point. Below 4,600ft a nasty crust sit's on top of the snowpack, making the skiing less than ideal. Upper elevation, shady slopes host the best snow quality.       

Observation Location: Castle Lake 

  • Elevation: 5,594ft
  • Date: 20221212
  • Time: 1430
  • Observer: Eric Falconer 
  • Sky Conditions:  Few (FEW) 
  • Current Precipitation: Type - NO
  • Air Temperature: 23°F
  • Surface Penetration: Ski penetration (PS) =6in (10 cm), boot penetration (PF) = 33in (80 cm)
  • Total Snow Depth (HS): 68in (172 cm)
  • 24-hour New Snow Depth (HN24): None
  • 24-hour New Snow Water Equivalent (HN24W): None
  • Wind Direction: NE
  • Wind Speed: Calm
  • Column & Block Tests:
    • Slope Angle & Aspect: 25º, NW
    • PST 40/100 (END) ↓80cm SC



Weather Observations