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Storm Conditions, Coyote Butte
Today was one of those days when it was too deep. Whether skinning up or skiing down, momentum was tough to come by. Both the Everitt Memorial Highway and Castle Lake roads were closed and access to the backcountry as well as visibilty/road travel was difficult. A backcountry short tour around Coyote Butte up at the Mt Shasta Ski Park was all that ensued. It was a day for storm assessment with a stepping back mindset. My partner and I treaded very lightly and did not ski or travel in avalanche terrain.
- Observation Location: Backside of Coyote Butte, adjacent to Ski Park
- Elevation: 6,850 feet
- Date: 20210127
- Time: 1515
- Observer: Meyers
- Sky Conditions: Obscured (X)
- Current Precipitation: Type - SN / Rate - S1
- Air Temperature: 20.5 °F
- Surface Penetration: Ski penetration (PS) = 15 in / 38 cm -- Boot penetration (PF) = 20-30 in / 50-75 cm)
- Total Snow Depth (HS): 67 in / 170 cm
- 24-hour New Snow Depth (HN24): 21 in / 53 cm
- 24-hour New Snow Water Equivalent (HN24W): 1.68 inches/ 42.6 mm
- Wind Direction: South
- Wind Speed: Strong (S), 26-38 mi/hr, whole trees in motion
Obvious signs of avalanche danger was observed today despite not being able to see much terrain. As of this afternoon, the area has received 28 hours of constant snowfall and strong southerly wind. New snow and subtle temperature and wind speed changes have made for a layered snowpack within the new snow. Slightly warmer temperatures this afternoon made for excellent slab properties. Cracking and blocking, whoomfing and shooting cracks were observed in near treeline terrain. Wind drifts 2-4 feet thick were hollow and slabby. Snow below treeline became upside down cake like later in the day.
In select areas, a weak layer of sugary snow exists below a thick, pencil hard crust, about 90 cm deep. We were not able to produced failure on this layer with a deep tap test. Bridging from the crust and spacial variability of the weak snow keeps this layer a low concern at this time.
A wild and wooly past 24+ hours and still going. Skies have been obscured, snow non-stop. It's been basic survival just keep roads and homes dug out, many still working on it. It will be a day or two before we can really get a good look at things.