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Gray Butte Tour

Location Name: 
Gray Butte
Mt. Shasta
Date and time of observation: 
Tue, 02/28/2023 - 12:05pm
Observation made by: 
Red Flags:
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

Location Map

96067 Mount Shasta , CA
United States
41° 20' 38.1804" N, 122° 11' 47.9616" W
California US

Snowpack Observations


Today’s observation took place on a tour up Gray Butte to examine snow surfaces, wind effects, and storm activity. I found the special distribution of wind-loaded snow isolated to wind pillows in exposed areas below treeline with the ability to initiate cracking. Near treeline the leeward sides of ridgelines and tops of chutes displayed wind lips and scoured snow with active wind loading onto easterly aspects. Slight snow settlement around tree trunks was evident and the five inches of new snow was a bit denser under the skis than the day prior.  Steady snowfall with westerly winds blowing snow was the theme of the morning. As the day progressed the weather transitioned into more of a flurry pattern with gaps of calm and partly sunny periods. Even the Blue sky was glimpsed for a moment. Below-freezing temperatures remained in place near treeline. Bad visibility limited my observations to near and below treeline. No other signs of avalanche activity were observed.     

  • Observation Location: Gray Butte
  • Elevation: 7,600 feet
  • Date: 2023.02.28
  • Time: 1200
  • Observer: E.Falconer
  • Sky Conditions: Broken (BKN) | Overcast (OVC) | Obscured (X)]
  • Current Precipitation: Type - SN / Rate - S1 | S2 
  • Air Temperature: 18 °F
  • Surface Penetration: Ski penetration (PS) = 17 in (30 cm), boot penetration (PF) = [45 in (115 cm)
  • Total Snow Depth (HS): 154 in 
  • 24-hour New Snow Depth (HN24): 6 in (13 cm)
  • 24-hour New Snow Water Equivalent (HN24W): 0
  • Wind Direction: SW | W 
  • Wind Speed: Strong: Trees sway in motion  


  • Breaking trail below treeline
  • Conditions at 7,300 feet
  • Cracking of wind slab on snow pillow below treeline
  • Surface texture from wind below treeline
  • Snow settlement below treeline
  • Representative weather conditions near treeline
  • Freshly crafted wind lip with snow blowing onto east aspect near treeline
  • A lull in the storm for a wee second. Conditions below treeline
  • Unaffected snow surfaces in the woods below treeline

Weather Observations


Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Blowing Snow: 
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Speed: 
Wind Direction: