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Heavy snow, active wind loading and recent avalanches - West side crest

Location Name: 
Cliff and Gumboot Lakes Basin
Castle Lake
Date and time of observation: 
Sat, 02/09/2019 - 4:00pm
Observation made by: 
Red Flags:
Recent avalanche activity
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks, or collapsing
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

Location Map

96067 Mount Shasta , CA
United States
41° 11' 35.484" N, 122° 29' 45.4776" W
California US

Snowpack Observations


A spicy day in the mountains today during the storm. An impressive amount of snow in a short period of time. The storm was a bit late to start, nonetheless precipitation started at 0600 and proceeded to dump 1-2 inches an hour. About 8-12 inches of snow fell in a 10 hour period today above 5,500 feet and has been accompanied by relentless SW-W-NW winds. Red flags were observed all over the place in the Cliff and Gumboot Lakes basin area.

  • several D1 storm slabs occurred naturally on northerly facing, mid-slope convexities near treeline.
  • westerly winds blew steady near and above treeline and over the ridgetops, actively loading the right half of the compass. Easterly aspects were most heavily loaded.
  • recent cornice failures and cracking was observed along leeward ridges
  • heavy new snow occurred between 0600 and 1500 hours
  • two feet total of existing and new (4F to F) dry, low density snow exists on top of firmer, melt/freeze rain crust.
  • column tests failed easily on several density changes within soft snow layers, including both 5 and 19 inches down from the surface of the snowpack.

If instability anything like today persists, tomorrow will be a day to really play it safe. You don't get to many more red flags than this.


  • Cliff lakes basin, near treeline
  • Snow pit from near Cliff Lake on a 30 degree, easterly facing slope, 6,000 feet
  • Deep tracks near Upper Cliff Lake

Weather Observations


  • Heavy snow for the AM hours, tapering off in the mid to late afternoon, 1-2 inches an hour for a 10 hour period starting at 0600.
  • Temp: 20 F at 1600 hrs, 6,500 feet
  • Wind: Light with moderate gusts below treeline. Near and above treeline, moderate to strong out of the SW-W-NW, averaging 20-30 mi/hr with gusts to 40+ mi/hr.
  • Partial clearing and a glimpse of blue sky late in the day.


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