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Previous wind loading on Gray Butte

Location Name: 
Gray Butte
Mt. Shasta
Date and time of observation: 
Sun, 01/15/2023 - 2:30pm
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' 40.2108" N, 122° 11' 47.6592" W
California US

Snowpack Observations


Today’s observation led me to Gray Butte to investigate the aftermath of storm snow and wind effect. Throughout my tour, visibility near treeline remained poor, and the wind was calm from the south and southwest. I observed no new wind transport. Winds have crafted large cornices, and wind drifts along areas of exposed ridgeline. The new snow from January 13th was easy to penetrate, and I initiated minor cracking and blocking instabilities within the new snow, old snow interface. The January 12th rain crust was found 100cm down from the snow surface, inferring my pit location had previously been wind loaded, even though it did not originally appear that way. A compression test highlighted density changes within the last storm and the two beforehand. 





  • Observation Location: Gray Butte
  • Elevation: 7,812
  • Date: 2023.01.15
  • Time: 0230
  • Observer: Eric Falconer
  • Sky Conditions:  Overcast (OVC) 
  • Current Precipitation: Type - S1 
  • Air Temperature: [?] °F
  • Surface Penetration: Ski penetration (PS) = 5 in (12 cm), boot penetration BP = 27 in (70 cm)
  • Total Snow Depth (HS): 53 in (130cm)
  • 24-hour New Snow Depth (HN24): [?] in ([?] cm)
  • 24-hour New Snow Water Equivalent (HN24W): [?] in ([?] cm)
  • Wind Direction: SW 
  • Wind Speed: [Calm (C), 0 mi/hr | Light (L), 1-16 mi/hr, twigs in motion 
  • Column & Block Tests:
    • Slope Angle & Aspect ([ 27]º, West aspect
    • CT#7-SC-↓10in (25cm)


  • West aspect near treeline.
  • Cornices along ridge
  • New snow old snow interface instability
  • cracking within the new snow
  • Visibility below treeline
  • Visibility near treeline

Weather Observations


Blowing Snow: 
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Speed: 
Wind Direction: