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
12/17/2018 - 12:00 Silver Peak Cabin Creek, Deep Creek, or Pole Creek Area Snowpack Observation Small ski kick triggered wind slab on the edge of a wind loaded slope in near treeline terrain. Ski cuts triggered loose dry sluffs with the new snow sliding on the old near surface facets. Forecaster
04/06/2019 - 10:00 Andesite Peak Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation About 4 inches of storm snow on top of weak crust and F hard wet snow at 7,300'. Minor cracking of wind slab. 35 cm of wind slab on top of weak crust and F hard wet snow. E aspect at about 8,100' in terrain with above treeline characteristics. Repeatable ECTP-12 down 25 cm within 35 cm of wind slab on E aspect at 8,100'. Foggy conditions above about 7,800'. Forecaster
12/01/2018 - 11:00 Andesite Peak Donner Summit Area Avalanche Observation One of several natural wind slab avalanches on Andesite Peak, E aspect, ~8,100'. Cracking triggered while breaking trail below treeline. Early signs of the instability in the area. The first wind loaded feature we approached at treeline, E aspect,~7,900'. Intentional remote skier triggered avalanche. View from triggering location. 20' shooting crack to where avalanche occurred. Pointing to far flank on the large bump in low visibility. 20' skier triggered shooting crack in near treeline terrain, ENE aspect. Another natural wind slab avalanche, above treeline terrain, ENE aspect, ~8,100'. Still another natural wind slab avalanche, above treeline terrain, ENE aspect, ~8,100'. Wide propagation with the far flank about 2/3rds of the way across the open slope in the background. Easily 200' wide. Forecaster
03/21/2019 - 12:00 Elephants Back Carson Pass Area Snowpack Observation Very small roller balls as daytime warming occurred at noon. Sun patches throughout the day with periods of full sun. Very small cracking in wind loaded terrain. Minor wind scouring along Frog Lake Ridge. 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
03/07/2019 - 12:00 Mt. Judah Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation ECTP on a lower density layer of storm snow on an open near treeline aspect at 8060 ft. Wind affected slope on the windward side of a ridge. Settlement cracks around a tree. A very deep tree well. Small cornice dropped on a small wind-loaded test slope with no additional results. Forecaster
12/26/2018 - 12:15 Deep Creek Cabin Creek, Deep Creek, or Pole Creek Area Snowpack Observation No signs of wind effect in open areas below treeline, ~7,900 N aspect'. Minimal signs of wind effect from NE winds on ridgetop at ~8,000'. F hard surface snow with micro-sastrugi. Some exposed rain crust just visible reflecting on the cornice top in upper Pole Creek. 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
12/09/2018 - 12:00 East Ridge Tamarack Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Surface hoar failing on an artificially loaded PST. Crusts on windward slopes preventing wind transport of snow with moderate SW winds. Windward SE-S-SW aspects have limited snow in this area. Forecaster
12/09/2018 - 14:00 Mt. Tallac Desolation Wilderness Area (including Emerald Bay) Avalanche Observation Forecaster
01/05/2019 - 10:45 Fireplug Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Forecaster
02/11/2019 - 11:45 Tamarack Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Blowing snow along a sub-ridge of Tamarack Peak. The arrow is pointing to a person standing on the ridge. Skier-triggered cracks in a wind-loaded test slope that was undercut. Wind-scoured features along a ridge. Macro ripples (aka tiger stripes) across a slope near the summit of Tamarack. Our skin track refilled quickly with wind loading. 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
03/13/2019 - 13:00 Elephants Hump Carson Pass Area Snowpack Observation Scoured NE facing slope near the ridgeline Ice crust exposed by wind scouring on the ridge NE wind transport off of Red Lake Peak ECTN on a previously wind-loaded NE facing test slope. Forecaster
04/02/2019 - 11:00 Andesite Peak Donner Summit Area Avalanche Observation Ski cut triggered D1.5-D2 Loose wet avalanche Ski kick triggered loose wet sluff on a steep test slope. Ski kick triggered loose wet sluff on a steep test slope. Barely covered rain runnels in a meadow. Forecaster

Pages

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