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Strong wind on lower Casaval Ridge to 8,700 feet

Location Name: 
Lower W facing Casaval Ridge to 8,600 feet (Giddy Giddy, Gulch)
Mt. Shasta
Date and time of observation: 
Tue, 12/25/2018 - 1:19pm
Observation made by: 
Professional Observer
Red Flags: 
Recent avalanche activityRecent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

Location Map

96067 Mount Shasta , CA
United States
41° 22' 39.0468" N, 122° 13' 37.8948" W
California US

Snowpack Observations


I toured out of Bunny Flat this afternoon to get some data on what the strong wind was doing past Horse Camp near bottom of Casaval Ridge to 8,700 feet. There was a lot of snow getting blown around. Large plumes of snow were observed on the south and west sided of Mount Shasta. I recorded an average height of 53 inches (135 cm) total snow at Horse Camp. I then continued west to the base of Casaval Ridge. There was a small debris pile from a natural D1 avalanche on a west facing slope at 8,600 feet. This avalanche likely started in a steep roll over in a small bunch of stunted trees, see avalanche observations for more information. I dug a pit in some lower angle terrain south of the slide. Tests showed little signs of instability. See picture below for more snow pack and pit data. Snow surface texture was variable with an icy hard packed wind crust in exposed spots with filled in pockets of softer wind deposited snow above treeline.  Snow surface texture below treeline was soft F hardness snow with 6-12 (15-30 cm) inches of ski penetration. 



Weather Observations


Skies were clear above 6,900 feet with a mix of lower clouds below. Wind out of the north were gusting down Avalanche Gulch. Large plums of blowing snow were observed above treeline.  These winds were very productive striping any exposed windward surfaces and packing low lying leeward areas. 


Cloud Cover: 
25% 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: