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
01/26/2019 - 11:00 Incline Lake Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Recent NE wind events have scoured near and above treeline terrain.  Northerly below treeline terrain like this provided wet and sticky surface snow by noon today below 8600'. On southerly aspects, 3-4'' of wet snow existed above a supportable snow surface. Forecaster
11/28/2018 - 12:00 NW Castle Peak Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Light wind loading occurring off of summit ridge with cornice development. Wind loaded pillows showed minor cracking.  Forecaster
02/01/2019 - 12:00 Tamarack Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation 4-6mm surface hoar near trailhead in open below treeline terrain at 8700'. 6-8mm surface hoar near Tamarack Peak on E-NE aspects, 9900'. More surface hoar Small avalanche terrain feature, 30-32 degrees, N aspect, with surface hoar present. Forecaster
02/05/2019 - 12:00 Jakes Peak West Shore Area Snowpack Observation About an inch of settlement crack around trees. 15 cm wind slab at treeline. Ski pen thigh deep. Wind pillow above NE aspect terrain at the summit. Ski cut in wind pillow near summit with no wind slab failure. Convective cell snowing out over Lake Tahoe. 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
01/10/2019 - 12:00 Tamarack Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Small inconsequential cracking on a wind-loaded test slope. The shiny track in front of my ski is not the track of a giant snow snail, but rather surface hoar that collapsed as a small cornice piece slide down the slope. 4 to 8 mm surface hoar was present on most open slopes at all elevations. Settlement crack around the base of a tree. Forecaster
01/30/2019 - 11:45 Rose Knob Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Ascending through 7,900' on open ESE aspect terrain at 10:15 am found 4 cm wet snow on top of 12 cm of 1 F hard melt-freeze crust. Open fracture behind cornice at ~8,900'. Conditions becoming unsupportable to travel on skis in treed SE aspect terrain at ~7,600' at 11:45 am. Forecaster
02/03/2019 - 12:00 Tamarack Peak Mount Rose Area Avalanche Observation Wind slab failure on a N-NE facing test slope on the far east ridge of Tamarack. Shooting cracks on a wind-loaded test slope. Forecaster
02/18/2019 - 13:30 Lincoln Ridge Yuba Pass Area Snowpack Observation Cornice drop on a test slope that did not trigger any slab instabilities but did cause a sluff. Rain crust exposed by scouring on the ridge. Settlement cone on a tree in below treeline terrain. Deep crack behind a cornice that has pulled away from the ridge. ECTN on a sheltered slope. The rain crust / rain layer has started to refreeze but still had some wet snow at the bottom of the layer. 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
01/16/2019 - 11:00 Hwy. 89 North of Tahoe City Blackwood Canyon or Ward Canyon Area Avalanche Observation 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
01/23/2019 - 11:30 Castle Peak Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Wind scoured N aspect terrain. Looking S along Andesite Ridge. Significant wind scouring across the ridgetop. Eroded cornices above SE aspect terrain. Wind scoured N aspect terrain at treeline. Significant settlement of recent storm snow on E side of Andesite. Forecaster
12/18/2018 - 10:15 Shirley Canyon Cabin Creek, Deep Creek, or Pole Creek Area Avalanche Observation Shooting Crack Small windslab avalanche Guide
Alpenglow Expeditions

Pages

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