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Storm Update - Touchy

Location Name: 
Mount Shasta
Mt. Shasta
Date and time of observation: 
Thu, 01/05/2023 - 2:30pm
Observation made by: 
Red Flags:
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

Location Map

96067 Mount Shasta , CA
United States
41° 21' 51.5412" N, 122° 12' 24.2892" W
California US

Snowpack Observations


Since the beginning of the active weather pattern that started on January 3rd, we have received about 2.5 feet of heavy, dense snow above 7,000 feet, with water equivalent of approximately five inches. Visibility, observations and backcountry access have been limited, but we were still able to snowmobile up onto Mount Shasta on 1.5.23 and assess the snow stability.

Powder-over-the- hood riding was expected, but to our surprise, snowmobile penetration was only about six inches. On an easterly aspect near treeline at 8,000 feet, numerous, repeatable extended column tests failed upon isolation. A 2.5 foot thick hard slab rests tenuously on a thin crust/weak layer. This weak layer is fairly widespread. These eyebrow raising stability test results indicate a touchy snowpack near and above treeline. During the storm, snow levels hovered around 6,000 feet. The snowpack below treeline is a wet, mushy mess. Rain runnels and tree litter are a common sight.

  • Observation Location: Mount Shasta, Old Ski Bowl
  • Elevation: Town to 8,000 feet
  • Date: 20230105
  • Time: 1000 - 1530 
  • Observer: Meyers/Clairmont
  • Sky Conditions: Obscured (X)]
  • Current Precipitation: Type - SN, Rate - S-1
  • Air Temperature:  26°F
  • Surface Penetration: Snowmobile penetration (PS) = 6 in, boot penetration (PF) = 10 in
  • Total Snow Depth (HS): ~90-100 in
  • 24-hour New Snow Depth (HN24): ~2-2.5 ft 
  • 24-hour New Snow Water Equivalent (HN24W): 3.7 in
  • Wind Direction:  S-SE 
  • Wind Speed: Max 61 mi/hr, Min 3.5 mi/hr, Avg 11.5 mi/hr
  • Column & Block Tests:
    • Slope Angle & Aspect: 30º, E 
    • ECTV ↓ 2.5 ft 



  • Snowmobile penetration into the 2.5 feet of heavy, dense snow only about six inches
  • The Everitt Memorial Highway is still closed, but we were able to snowmobile to the trailhead via the powerline road.
  • Below treeline, the snowpack is littered with tree debris and down trees
  • Rain runnels dominate below 6,000 feet. Six to seven thousand feet is transitional and above 7k, it's much more wintry.
  • Near treeline, 8,000 feet, Old Ski Bowl, Mt Shasta
  • Near treeline, 8,000 feet, Old Ski Bowl, Mt Shasta
  • Pit on an east aspect, 8k ft, weak layer highlighted by red line with thick, hard slab on top
  • Numerous ECTV tests (failing on isolation) were produced, failing on buried weak layer
  • Numerous ECTV tests (failing on isolation) were produced, failing on buried weak layer
  • Crust/weak layer. Grain ID: graupel and small facets

Weather Observations


Poor visibility, spitting snow, fog, mist, clouds. Snow level near 6,000 feet.


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