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
11/29/2018 - 10:15 Andesite Peak Donner Summit Area Avalanche Observation Forecaster
12/19/2018 - 11:30 Ellis Peak Blackwood Canyon or Ward Canyon Area Avalanche Observation Intentionally triggered wind slab avalanche, D1. Another photo of same avalanche. Forecaster
01/13/2019 - 12:00 Upper Cold Stream Canyon Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Very large cornice hanging over a steep slope. 1 to 2 cm large surface hoar grains. Old cornice and avalanche debris. What looked like an old avalanche crown on a steep low elevation slope. Forecaster
02/03/2019 - 12:00 Hidden Peak West Shore Area Snowpack Observation Blowing snow with limited visibility at 9200'. Shooting cracks off of skis while skinning up, at 9000' on a NE aspect. At 7600', around 4'' of wet snow on top of a supportable crust. Above 8200', 12'' of new snow. Forecaster
12/24/2018 - 11:30 Tamarack Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Stormy conditions at Tamarack. Skier triggered crack on a small wind loaded test slope. New wind slab on top of older hard wind slab on top of old weak surface snow. 3 inches of snow on the hood of the truck after we returned from the tour. Forecaster
02/04/2019 - 12:00 Mt. Rose Backcountry Mount Rose Area Avalanche Observation Mostly buried avalanche on Tamarack Peak Mostly filled in avalanche crown on Relay Peak Cornice debris from a mostly buried cornice collapse and wind slab avalanche on Tamarack Peak Forecaster
12/07/2018 - 12:00 West Grouse Blackwood Canyon or Ward Canyon Area Snowpack Observation SE aspect below Grouse Rock. 10cm artificial slab created PST 20/100 end on 12/4 SH layer. New surface hoar of 5 to 10 cm seen in West Grouse area. Forecaster
12/29/2018 - 11:45 Upper Cold Stream Cabin Creek, Deep Creek, or Pole Creek Area Snowpack Observation Photo 1: Looking to the west at NE-E aspect near and above treeline terrain along the Sierra Crest, wind scoured snow surfaces and icy crusts were obvious. Forecaster
01/18/2019 - 13:00 Incline Lake Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Small natural cornice failure with small wind slab avalanche. Large and fragile cornices along ridgeline. Pointing to buried surface hoar down 140cm from surface. Large surface hoar under the DT that failed.  Forecaster
01/06/2019 - 12:00 Andesite Peak Donner Summit Area Avalanche Observation One of the skier triggered wind slabs near the top of Andesite Peak Small wind slab failure on a test slope. A second ski kick at the spot just after the photo was taken triggered a large whumpf. Skier triggered D1 wind slab avalanche on NE aspect at 8000'.  50' wide x 70' long. Another small D1 skier triggered avalanche in similar terrain. Cracking started at the trailhead 8 inches of new snow acculumated at the trailhead while we were out. My pole is pushed into the level of our skin track when we started the day. 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
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
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
01/02/2019 - 12:00 Above Tom's Valley Independence Lake Area Snowpack Observation Exposed, snomo ski breakable rain crust on ridgetop at ~8,100'. Old fracture failing down to the 12/22 rain crust. Faceted snow at this layer interface still shows problematic failure in snowpit tests. Forecaster
12/14/2018 - 11:45 Silver Peak Cabin Creek, Deep Creek, or Pole Creek Area Snowpack Observation NE side of Silver Peak as viewed from ridge between Pole Creek and Deep Creek. Forecaster

Pages

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