Please remember that these observations indicate what was going on in the snowpack at a single point in time and space. They may not represent conditions where you are or where you plan to be. They also come from a variety of sources. SAC cannot vouch for the quality or accuracy of any observations that come from the general public. Some of these may be professional quality observations; some may not. Please use observations listed on this page as part of your information gathering process, but as always don't make decisions based on a single piece of information. If you are looking for more information on how to understand the information on this page, all of the pit data graphs and stability tests are part of what is presented in a Level II avalanche class that follows the American Avalanche Association (AAA) or American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) curriculum guidelines. All of the coding and abbreviations for data presented follows the publication Snow, Weather, and Avalanches: Observational Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States (SWAG) which is the standard for all professional avalanche programs in the US. An electronic copy is available here. Most of what you are looking for is in Chapter 2 and Appendix F part 1. We use a program called SnowPilot to create the snowpit graphs. It is available as an online tool or as a downloadable program at This website also has a quick video and user guide on how to use create snowpits. Please send us your observations using the buttons below.
Date and time of observation or avalanche occurrence Location Region Observation Type Photos Snowpack, Avalanche, Weather Videos Snowpit videos (tests, etc) Observation made by
04/04/2020 - 16:45 Andesite Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Top of hand pit with 6” on new snow on crust Hand pit showed a weaker/softer snow below the sun crust. Easy fracture at below the crust, then surprisingly another fracture 10-12” inches below the crust. Stomped on cornice and pushed off a small slide Stomped on cornice again further down and it broke up to 25’ away Public
04/04/2020 - 10:30 Tamarack Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Incoming storm at 10am. Breakable crusts were widespread Some softening on sun exposed wind protected slopes. Forecaster
04/03/2020 - 16:00 Blackwood Ridge West Shore Area Snowpack Observation Public
04/03/2020 - 12:00 Elephant's Hump Carson Pass Area Snowpack Observation Small and shallow loose wet activity on an east facing slope. Rock hard conditions around 11am on an open north facing slope. A few hundred feet away from the open clearing, north facing trees had soft surface conditions. Top meter of snow. ECTN 15 Professional Observer
04/03/2020 - 12:00 North east side of basin peak Donner Summit Area Avalanche Observation Public
04/03/2020 - 11:30 Schneider Cow Camp Carson Pass Area Snowpack Observation Professional Observer
04/03/2020 - 11:00 Lincoln Ridge Yuba Pass Area Snowpack Observation Firm icy surfaces were widespread, especially on ridges and north facing slopes Buried surface hoar layer. Snowpit tests and general observations indicated that it had gained strength. Forecaster
04/01/2020 - 12:00 Carpenter Ridge Independence Lake Area Snowpack Observation Cornice drops onto wind loaded slope with no results. Breakable surface crusts.  Softening occurred on solar aspects. Wet and soft surface snow by 11am on areas with direct sun. Forecaster
04/01/2020 - 12:00 Red Lake Peak Carson Pass Area Snowpack Observation Soft snow around 11am below on sunny slopes below tree line Impressive blowing snow on Stevens Peak Graupel down about 15 cms under a crust. ECTN 21 Ridges around 9000 feet were very firm with intense wind. Professional Observer
03/31/2020 - 11:00 Lincoln Ridge Yuba Pass Area Avalanche Observation Reactive dense wind slab with wide propagation on small test slope. ECTP-13 on buried surface hoar. Buried surface hoar, some up to 10mm + Forecaster
03/31/2020 - 07:30 Hawk Hill, Tahoe Donner Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Public
03/30/2020 - 16:45 DLI / Castle Donner Summit Area Avalanche Observation Public
03/30/2020 - 10:00 Silver Peak Cabin Creek, Deep Creek, or Pole Creek Area Snowpack Observation Drifting snow over N ridge of Silver Peak. Wind slab cracking in previously undercut area. Minimal snow still available for transport on S side of E ridge of Silver Peak. Forecaster
03/29/2020 - 11:30 NE Face, Castle Peak Donner Summit Area Avalanche Observation

Ski Cut Castle Peak_032920

03/29/2020 - 11:00 E-ridge of Tamarack Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Some cracking in the new snow on top of a firm/MF surface on a S-facing slope Graupel accumulation A quick burst of heavier snowfall; coverage low with rocks/grass poking out in S-facing scoured areas Quick hand pit on a S-facing slope in area with breakable crust. Boot pen through both crusts, ski pen just cracking top crust. Soft, cold snow (F to 4F) above, between, and below the crusts. Public