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 http://www.snowpilot.org/. 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
03/08/2019 - 13:00 Incline Lake Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation A ski cut on this ridgeline test slope triggered a ~8-12 inch deep wind slab Large cornices existed along the summit ridgeline Ski kicks did not trigger any cracking on this test slope until it was undercut. Then ski kicks could trigger shooting cracks. Settlement cracks existed around trees in more sheltered terrain. A Test pit from a N aspect below treeline slope sheltered from the wind. Tests did not show signs of instability. Forecaster
03/27/2019 - 12:00 Elephants Hump Carson Pass Area Snowpack Observation Skier triggered sluff of wet heavy snow on a small test slope below 8000 ft. Wind scoured ridgeline Small cracking above the skin track on a sheltered slope. Forecaster
02/06/2019 - 13:00 Blackwood Ridge Blackwood Canyon or Ward Canyon Area Snowpack Observation Signs of storm snow settlement, approaching 10 inches in some areas. Signs of previous wind transport near treeline. Wind loaded features that were unreactive to skier weight. Forecaster
01/19/2019 - 12:00 English Mountain Independence Lake Area Snowpack Observation Roller balls on the west side of Jackson Meadows Reservoir from rain on snow. Small crown from wet snow avalanche near noted lat/long. Another small crown from wet snow avalanche near noted lat/long. Fog and light rain on NE side of English Mtn. Forecaster
02/28/2019 - 11:00 Mt. Judah Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Large reactive cornices along with active blowing snow. Shooting cracks in wind loaded terrain. ECTP-27 on a wind slab down 22cm. ECTP-29 on a wind slab down 55cm. Looking along the Mt. Judah ridgeline with blowing snow and limited visibility. Cracking within the new upside down storm snow. Forecaster
12/11/2018 - 12:00 Carpenter Ridge Independence Lake Area Snowpack Observation Small wind slab at treeline on NE aspect. Unconsolidated snow along the ridgetop, still available for future wind transport. Forecaster
04/13/2019 - 11:00 Johnson Canyon Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Fully boot supportable 9 inch thick K hard crust at 6,560' at 9:40 am. Still ski supportable but not boot supportable 9 inch thick 1F hard crust at 7,420' at 10:15 am. Fractures behind cornices, common in this climate. Forecaster
04/16/2019 - 11:00 Hidden Peak West Shore Area Avalanche Observation Intentionally skier triggered loose wet avalanche size D1.5.  E aspect, 8500', 35 + degree slope. Small roller ball activity from ski turns involving the recent 3-4'' of new snow. Below 8000' at 10am, 2-3'' of new snow on top of 4F wet snow.  Little to no overnight refreeze at lower elevations below 8000'. Minor cracking in wind loaded terrain.  Wind transported snow was limited to near ridgelines and did not extend downslope very far. E face of Crag Peak.  Small D1 natural loose wet avalanches that occurred by 11am this morning. Forecaster
03/06/2019 - 11:00 Tamarack Peak Mount Rose Area Avalanche Observation Large shooting cracks with wind slab release in near treeline wind loaded terrain. Small wind slab avalanche intentionally triggered on a test slope.  Crown 12-16'' deep. Sensitive wind slab avalanche intentionally triggered on small test slope. Natural wind slab avalanche mostly covered up.  East Ridge Tamarack, 9600', N aspect Natural storm slab avalanches on a N aspect at 8700 ft. with ~1 ft crown. , Forecaster
01/31/2019 - 13:00 Stevens Peak Carson Pass Area Snowpack Observation 4mm surface hoar on N aspect terrain showing signs of lasting through the day. Shallow surface facets on NNE aspect terrain, unaffected by previous melt. We were breaking trail for this skin track. Forecaster
12/20/2018 - 12:00 Incline Lake Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Very small amounts of blowing snow observed on foreground ridge, just above the highest trees. Transport occurring only during gusts to 60 mph. Rose Knob Peak No signs of blowing snow with ridge wind avg 40 mph, gusts to 60 mph on nearby Slide sensor. Ridgeline to the NW of Incline Lake Peak. This is the maximum extent of any cracking we saw today in areas of wind slab. 1 cm of wind drifted snow in our skin track set 2 hours prior. Forecaster
12/04/2018 - 12:00 Silver Peak Cabin Creek, Deep Creek, or Pole Creek Area Snowpack Observation 10-15mm surface hoar in open areas near and below treeline This type of open below treeline terrain has even distribution of large surface hoar across slope. Forecaster
12/09/2018 - 12:00 Castle - Basin Peak Area Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Wind slab failure on buried surface hoar on a wind-loaded test slope. Shooting cracks triggered by a ski cut on a near treeline wind-loaded test slope. This slab failed on buried surface hoar. Large surface hoar on the snow surface in a sheltered area , Forecaster
01/21/2019 - 12:00 Tamarack Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Intense snow transport on ridges, peak, and even below treeline from strong NW/N winds Small wind loaded test slopes in near treeline terrain did not signs of wind slab propagation Limited cracking on small wind loaded features. Forecaster
04/08/2019 - 23:00 Donner Peak Donner Summit Area Avalanche Observation Forecaster

Pages

Subscribe to Central Sierra Nevada / Lake Tahoe Snowpack, Weather, and Avalanche Observations for California and Nevada from SAC