Avalanche Forecast published on December 2, 2016 @ 6:50 am
Issued by Steve Reynaud - Tahoe National Forest

Low avalanche danger continues throughout the forecast region on all aspects and elevations.  Normal caution is advised.  Use proper backcountry travel protocols to further reduce your risk while traveling through avalanche terrain.  Early season conditions exist in most areas.



1. Low


Above Treeline
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

1. Low


Near Treeline
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

1. Low


Below Treeline
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
    Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
Avalanche Problem 1: Normal Caution
  • Type ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?

Normal caution is advised today while traveling in the backcountry.  Make sure to have a travel plan and discuss it with your group.  Watch out for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.  Expose only 1 member of your group to avalanche terrain at a time and re-group in areas out of avalanche terrain.  An early season snowpack exists throughout the area.

Very isolated wind slabs will be possible on SE-S-SW-W-NW aspects today.  Continued NE/E winds in the strong to gale force range will allow for further scouring of snow near and above treeline.  E wind gusts are forecasted to be near 100mph through today.  In some areas, snow available for transport may be limited and this transported snow may be deposited on terrain with little to no snow coverage with many anchors.  If wind slabs do form, they are expected to be small, near ridges, and not extend very far downslope.  Watch for blowing snow, cornice formation, and wind pillow development.

Weak faceted snow continues to exist near the base of the snowpack buried 1 to 3 feet deep on North aspects along the northern portion of the Sierra Crest above 8300' and in the Mt. Rose area above 9300'.  There have been no avalanches associated with this persistent slab and ongoing snowpack tests have indicated that this PWL would be hard to trigger at this time.  Practice proper travel protocols while ascending and descending in this specific terrain.  While triggering a persistent slab avalanche is unlikely, taking basic steps to reduce risk in this terrain makes sense. 

Forecast discussion

The deepest and most usable snowpack within the forecast area exists along the northern portion of the Sierra Crest. Along the Sierra Crest south of Tahoe City, snowpack depths decrease, even at the highest elevations. Recent storms have added to the snowpack in all areas but many rocks and shallowly buried obstacles still exist. The Mount Rose area in the NE portion of the forecast area has decent snowcover, but impact with rocks remains likely at the lower elevations in this area as well.

All of the recent avalanche and snowpack observations submitted by local users have been greatly appreciated and have contributed towards producing the best possible avalanche advisories. Please continue to submit observations through the "submit observations" buttons found throughout this website.

recent observations

Observations on Castle Peak (Donner Pass area) showed active wind loading and wind scouring throughout the area.  Small wind slabs were forming from the north winds but were limited in size and extension downslope.  The small wind slabs encountered did not pose any issue for backountry travel in this area.  

Observations near Lincoln Ridge (Yuba Pass area) showed 2.5 feet of snow at 7500' on protected north aspects.  Unconsolidated snow existed in protected treed areas while upper elevation exposed areas showed more wind scouring. 

weather summary

Strong easterly ridge winds will continue today at the higher elevations throughout the forecast area.  Very low wind chill temperatures will be possible above 8000' as E wind gusts approach 100mph.  Winds will diminish over the weekend and temperatures will get to above average as high pressure builds over the area.  A weak cold front approaches the region Sunday night into Monday with the next chance of snow and a return of cold temperatures.  

6am temperature: 7 to 12 deg. F.
Max. temperature: 27 deg. F.
Average ridgetop wind direction: NE
Average ridgetop wind speed: 30 to 45 mph
Maximum ridgetop wind gust: 86 mph
New snowfall: 0 inches
Total snow depth: 12 to 22 inches
Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 7000 ft. to 8000 ft.
Friday Friday Night Saturday
Weather: Sunny Clear Sunny
Temperatures: 26 to 31 deg. F. 17 to 22 deg. F. 38 to 43 deg. F.
Mid Slope Winds: E E E
Wind Speed: 15 to 25mph with gusts to 40mph. 15 to 20mph with gusts to 35mph. Light winds
Expected snowfall: 0 0 0
For 8000 ft. to 9000 ft.
Friday Friday Night Saturday
Weather: Sunny Clear Sunny
Temperatures: 23 to 29 deg. F. 17 to 22 deg. F. 36 to 42 deg. F.
Ridge Top Winds: NE E shifting to NE E
Wind Speed: 30 to 50mph. Gusts up to 75mph increasing to 95mph in the afternoon. 25 to 40mph with gusts to 70mph shifting to 20 to 30mph with gusts to 60mph after midnight. 15 to 25mph with gusts to 60mph decreasing to 40mph in the afternoon.
Expected snowfall: 0 0 0

This avalanche advisory is provided through a partnership between the Tahoe National Forest and the Sierra Avalanche Center. This advisory covers the Central Sierra Nevada Mountains between Yuba Pass on the north and Ebbetts Pass on the south. Click here for a map of the forecast area. This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires 24 hours after the posted time unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.

For a recorded version of the Avalanche Advisory call (530) 587-3558 x258