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
04/08/2019 - 11:00 Incline Lake Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Small loose wet avalanches easily triggered on small test slopes, 11am, E aspect. 2x ECTP failing on top of old crust.  14'' deep total, with 8'' wind slab and 6'' of less dense snow below all on top of old crust. 1 cornice drop failed down to wind slab then down through less dense snow to crust-you can see step down in photo.  Failure did not propagate beyond cornice chuck dropped. Skipen over knee deep at 8700' on E aspect at 11:30am. Full cloud cover with cloud deck around 10,000'. 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
12/15/2018 - 12:45 Slab Cliffs Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Skier triggered cracking in a small shallow slab on a wind-loaded pocket. Clouds moving into the area ahead of tomorrow night's storm. Forecaster
11/27/2018 - 11:00 Echo/Becker Ridge Echo Summit Area Snowpack Observation Pit location at 8,000', N aspect. 35-40 cm snow cover on ridgetop at ~7,800' with evidence of previous rain on snow. Another view of snow cover on ridgetop at ~7,900'. Forecaster
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
03/29/2019 - 13:30 Galena Bowls - Mt. Rose Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Skier triggered cracking on a previously undercut low angle wind-loaded slope. Cloud cover during the day in this area seemed to limit the formation of loose wet snow problems. Scoured area along the ridge with a deposition zone for wind transported snow below the skier. The arrow shows the direction that the wind transported the snow during the recent storm. Forecaster
04/03/2019 - 12:00 Twin Peaks Blackwood Canyon or Ward Canyon Area Avalanche Observation This ski cut triggered D1 loose wet avalanche released on a NNW aspect at Debris from the ski cut triggered loose wet avalanche in the previous photo A ski cut triggered this loose wet sluff on a small test slope. The first pinwheel we triggered on a SE aspect at 7600 ft. Large pinwheels on a SE facing slope at 8300 ft. Recent natural loose wet activity on a NE facing slope between 7800 and 7400 ft. Snowpit showing new heavy snow on top of wet snow. Snowline was about 6800 ft. You can see snow in the trees above that elevation. Forecaster
12/13/2018 - 12:00 Silver Peak Cabin Creek, Deep Creek, or Pole Creek Area Snowpack Observation 12/4 surface hoar is preserved in this area Wind scouring on a northerly slope from yesterdays NE/E winds. Forecaster
03/19/2019 - 12:00 Mt. Judah Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Signs of creep behind cornices. S aspect test slope at ~8,100' showing the presence of loose wet avalanche problem at noon. 6" thick surface melt-freeze layer with supportable crust separating wet snow from dry snow below. Wet snow surface layer at 7,800' on S aspect barely still ski supportable but with near boot top penetration at 12:30pm. Forecaster
01/07/2019 - 12:00 Hidden Peak West Shore Area Snowpack Observation One of the many whumpfs we felt between 6900 and 8300 ft. This one propogated about 100 ft away from us in all directions and left small cracks like the one I am pointing at in the snow surface. Forecaster
04/10/2019 - 12:00 Chickadee Ridge Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Wind sculpting and scouring exposing a firm crust along the ridge from the NE winds. The refrozen crust was thick, frozen, and supportable on a sunny south facing slope at noon. Patches of new snow less than .5 inches deep existed on top of the firm refrozen crust. In most places the crust was exposed on the surface. The thin veneer of new snow was scoured away from the exposed northerly aspects leaving a firm icy crust behind. 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
01/09/2019 - 13:15 Hidden Peak West Shore Area Snowpack Observation Forecaster
04/18/2019 - 10:30 Mt. Judah Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation 10:30am on East aspect at 8200' was wet and punchy snow with shin deep boot pen. Loose wet activity was limited in the morning even with unsupportable snow conditions.  Widespread loose wet avalanche activity over the past week on steep slopes. Forecaster
01/28/2019 - 12:00 Castle Peak Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Looking south down the Sierra Crest.  High level cloud cover preventing widespread snow surface softening Forecaster

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