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Weak snow beneath the surface on Mount Shasta.

Location Name: 
Gray Butte
Mt. Shasta
Date and time of observation: 
Mon, 01/16/2023 - 12:08pm
Observation made by: 
Red Flags:
Recent avalanche activity
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

Location Map

96067 Mount Shasta , CA
United States
41° 21' 0.6048" N, 122° 11' 32.7588" W
California US

Snowpack Observations


With the superb visibility, my goal was to get out and have a look around. I saw several old storm slab crowns on a steep west aspect near treeline on Gray Butte and a large debris pile in the flat area below Gray Butte (see photo). Mount Shasta looked splendid and well-covered, to say the least. Western and northerly aspects in the alpine looked wind loaded and displayed textured surfaces, such as wind ripples and wind lips. Large cornices on east and northeast aspects dominated the ridgelines, and the slopes beneath looked soft and unsuspecting. However, they were indeed wind-loaded, hosting a 2 ft slab of cohesive snow atop a very soft layer of snow 50 cm down. Above treeline, I observed no signs of avalanche activity. An ECT was performed on an east aspect at 8,442 ft, near treeline, with unstable results on the weak layer of snow 50 cm down. 

Test score: ECTP24-50 cm down

  • Observation Location: Mount Shasta region
  • Elevation: 8442
  • Date: 2013.01.16
  • Time: 12:00
  • Observer: E. Falconer
  • Sky Conditions: [Clear (CLR) 
  • Current Precipitation: Type - [NO 
  • Air Temperature: [?] °F
  • Surface Penetration: Ski penetration (PS) = 7 in (10 cm), boot penetration (PF) = 17 in (40 cm)
  • Total Snow Depth (HS): 48 in (120 cm)
  • 24-hour New Snow Depth (HN24): [?] in ([?] cm)
  • 24-hour New Snow Water Equivalent (HN24W): [?] in ([?] cm)
  • Wind Direction: North
  • Wind Speed: [Calm (C), 0 mi/hr 
  • Column & Block Tests:
    • Slope Angle & Aspect [27]º, E
    • ECTP#24-↓20 in (50 cm)


  • Mount Blanco
  • Conditions above treeline
  • Near treeline conditions
  • Ridgeline cornices
  • Old signs of avalanche activity
  • Weak layer 50 cm down. Hard snow atop soft snow
  • Layer of concern

Weather Observations


Cloud Cover: 
Blowing Snow: 
Accumulation rate: 
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Speed: 
Wind Direction: