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
02/08/2019 - 11:00 Mt. Judah Donner Summit Area Avalanche Observation Public
02/10/2019 - 14:00 Sagehen Hills Snowpack Observation Public
02/14/2019 - 12:00 Elephant's Hump Carson Pass Area Snowpack Observation Professional Observer
02/17/2019 - 12:00 South Camp Peak East Shore Area Snowpack Observation Professional Observer
02/19/2019 - 13:45 Trimmer Peak Luther Pass Area (including Job and Freel) Snowpack Observation Public
11/23/2018 - 10:30 Grouse Rock Blackwood Canyon or Ward Canyon Area Snowpack Observation Public
12/01/2018 - 07:45 Castle Peak Donner Summit Area Avalanche Observation Public
12/01/2018 - 03:15 N Judah trees Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Public
12/09/2018 - 13:15 E of Boreal ski area Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Educator
Donner Summit Avalanche Seminars
12/14/2018 - 11:00 Deep Creek Cabin Creek, Deep Creek, or Pole Creek Area Snowpack Observation Pit location above avalanche path below. Trim line and runout zone just visible in background. Minor amounts of blowing snow noted along the Sierra Crest between Tinker's Knob and Anderson Peak. Forecaster
12/17/2018 - 13:00 Castle Peak Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Small windslab under 4cm of soft snow cracking The wind affected layer that broke in the previous photo. Soft snow removed on left side to show the slab. ECTN 12 @ the new windslab layer. Public
12/21/2018 - 09:15 Powderhouse Luther Pass Area (including Job and Freel) Snowpack Observation Natural roller ball activity below treeline on Luther Pass. A good number of tree bombs were falling as snow became saturated. Widespread cracking near and above treeline. Very reactive wind slabs on small test slopes. Looking down this small test slope at the bed surface, stauch wall, and debris. Looking across bed surface at crown and flanks. Professional Observer
12/26/2018 - 14:00 Munchkins Zone - East Bowl Blackwood Canyon or Ward Canyon Area Snowpack Observation Looking south down the ridge. Scoured western slopes and small cornices on the eastern slopes Small cornice broke easily after second kick. Cornice break from underneath. Public
01/02/2019 - 10:00 Porcupine Ridge Luther Pass Area (including Job and Freel) Snowpack Observation A thin wind slab over roughly 15cms of very weak NSFs The wind slab varied in thickness and strength, but did show ability to crack. A lot of Surface Hoar in this area. North facing slopes held some impressively large Surface Hoar. Professional Observer
01/07/2019 - 15:00 Incline Lake Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Kicking at the uphill side of the skin track yielded storm slab cracking at 8,400 feet. ECTN12 20cm down at the bottom of the dense storm slab. N aspect at 9,100 feet. CT8 at the same storm slab layer as the ECTN. This compression test also broke CT24 Q2 at the top of the crust sandwich layer in the old snow Public


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