State of the Snowpack for 3/21/2020 - 3/27/2020

Dates of the Week: 
3/21/2020 to 3/27/2020
Avalanche Problems: 
General Snowpack Structure: 
  • Deep slab facet/crust combination gaining strength.
  • Buried surface hoar beneath the Mar 24-26 storm snow. 
  • Buried grauple layers at the bottom and within the Mar 24-26 storm snow.

Weather Events: 
  • Below average temperatures for the week.
  • Widespread surface hoar formation over the weekend pre storm.
  • NE winds light to moderate shifting to SW strong to gale force during the storm event, light winds post storm.
  • Storm cycle Mar. 24-26 depositing 1-2' of snow on the Sierra Crest.
  • Convective type storms with several layers of graupel throughout storm cycle

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

Date and time of observation or avalanche occurrence Location Region Observation Type Photos Snowpack, Avalanche, Weather Videos Snowpit videos (tests, etc) Observation made by
04/01/2020 - 12:00 Red Lake Peak Carson Pass Area Snowpack Observation Soft snow around 11am below on sunny slopes below tree line Impressive blowing snow on Stevens Peak Graupel down about 15 cms under a crust. ECTN 21 Ridges around 9000 feet were very firm with intense wind. Professional Observer
04/01/2020 - 12:00 Carpenter Ridge Independence Lake Area Snowpack Observation Cornice drops onto wind loaded slope with no results. Breakable surface crusts.  Softening occurred on solar aspects. Wet and soft surface snow by 11am on areas with direct sun. Forecaster
03/31/2020 - 11:00 Lincoln Ridge Yuba Pass Area Avalanche Observation Reactive dense wind slab with wide propagation on small test slope. ECTP-13 on buried surface hoar. Buried surface hoar, some up to 10mm + Forecaster
03/31/2020 - 07:30 Hawk Hill, Tahoe Donner Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Public
03/30/2020 - 16:45 DLI / Castle Donner Summit Area Avalanche Observation Public
03/30/2020 - 10:00 Silver Peak Cabin Creek, Deep Creek, or Pole Creek Area Snowpack Observation Drifting snow over N ridge of Silver Peak. Wind slab cracking in previously undercut area. Minimal snow still available for transport on S side of E ridge of Silver Peak. Forecaster
03/29/2020 - 11:30 NE Face, Castle Peak Donner Summit Area Avalanche Observation

Ski Cut Castle Peak_032920

03/29/2020 - 11:00 E-ridge of Tamarack Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Some cracking in the new snow on top of a firm/MF surface on a S-facing slope Graupel accumulation A quick burst of heavier snowfall; coverage low with rocks/grass poking out in S-facing scoured areas Quick hand pit on a S-facing slope in area with breakable crust. Boot pen through both crusts, ski pen just cracking top crust. Soft, cold snow (F to 4F) above, between, and below the crusts. Public
03/29/2020 - 11:00 Mt. Judah Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Small wind slab triggered by ski cut on N end of Wildflower Ridge. Snowpit (N aspect, ~7,500') with well developed SH layer, ECTN and PST 100/100. Rollerballs on E aspect terrain from snow surface heating during minor sun breaks. Pit near 3/27 snowboard triggered persistent slab avalanche (NE aspect, ~7,800') with ECTN results. Large cornices above E face of Mt. Judah. Forecaster
03/29/2020 - 09:30 Grouse Rock Blackwood Canyon or Ward Canyon Area Avalanche Observation Public
03/28/2020 - 13:30 Galena Bowls Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Upper snowpack on NE aspect at 9100' Creeks and other hazards at lower elevations Public
03/28/2020 - 11:30 Tallac Summit Snowfield Desolation Wilderness Area (including Emerald Bay) Snowpack Observation Public
03/28/2020 - 11:00 Tamarack Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation 1 of several ECTN results on the old snow/new snow interface. Breakable crust conditions developing on E/SE aspects at lower elevations. Forecaster
03/28/2020 - 10:30 NE-facing slope Mt Rose Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Public
03/27/2020 - 15:30 Johnson Canyon Zone, Horse Range Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Public