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New Snow Conditions
Snowfall started later than expected this morning, beginning around 5:00 a.m. By noon Old Ski Bowl weather station was reporting just over 2 inches of new snow with .23 inches of snow water equivalent. Gray Butte weather station recorded winds out of the west this morning in the teens with gusts in the thirties. Temperatures during the snowfall were in the upper twenties, but shot up to 36°F by 2:00 p.m. as the skies over Mt Shasta cleared and the strong late March sun was exposed. This quickly heated up the snow surface and when I toured up Avalanche Gulch at that time the new snow below treeline was wet, and it was becoming moist above treeline, especially on southerly facing aspects. I found 1-3" of accumulated snow on my tour up the climber's right side of Avalanche Gulch proper. There is more snowpack holding on this side versus the standard climber gully to Helen Lake.
Winds began to increase and had shifted out of the NW during my tour this afternoon. Snow was beginning to drift, but there wasn't evidence of significant wind transport during the storm. The deepest drift I could find was at 8,500' on a wind roll and the depth of new snow was 4-5", well bonded and unreactive to ski pressure. The old snow below and near treeline was still wet from high temperatures yesterday, but above 9,000' it is likely more frozen and firm underneath the new snow. I observed D1 loose avalanche debris that had originated on upper Casaval Ridge and slid for maybe 800 vertical feet toward the Upper Moraine, and a few smaller loose slides that had come out of the Trinity Chutes. These likely occurred as the sun heated up the snow on these steep, south facing slopes near cliffs and rock bands. No other avalanche activity was observed. The skiing is improved, but now many rocks are just barely covered up. Riders beware.
- Observation Location: Avalanche Gulch
- Elevation: 8500'
- Date: 20220319
- Time: 1500
- Observer: R. Lazzeri
- Sky Conditions: FEW
- Current Precipitation: NO
- Air Temperature: 33 °F
- Surface Penetration: Ski penetration (PS) = 2 in
- 24-hour New Snow Depth (HN24): 2 in
- 24-hour New Snow Water Equivalent (HN24W): .23 in
- Wind Direction: NW
- Wind Speed: Light with moderate gusts
- Column & Block Tests:
- Ski cut: On a small wind loaded feature beginning to cornice. No result. No cracking. Unreactive.
- Hand shear: Hard result. 5" of 4F moist snow. Well-bonded to old snow.
The sky cleared above 6,000' on Mt Shasta around 1-2 p.m. while locations at lower elevation were cloudy with rain showers.