State of the Snowpack for 3/16/2019 - 3/22/2019

Dates of the Week: 
3/16/2019 to 3/22/2019
Avalanche Problems: 
General Snowpack Structure: 
  • Deep consistent snowpack with the upper pack going through melt-freeze cycles. It did not go through enough melt-freeze cycles to produce consistent widespread corn conditions.
  • Variable dust on crust conditions March 20-22
Weather Events: 
  • High pressure with sunny skies and cold nights March 16-19.
  • Small storm with limited accumulation and wind, but cooler temperatures for March 20-21.

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
03/22/2019 - 11:00 Silver Peak Cabin Creek, Deep Creek, or Pole Creek Area Snowpack Observation Cloud cover over the forecast area limiting snow surface melt. About 1 cm on recent storm snow over crust on N-NE aspects. Forecaster
03/21/2019 - 16:00 Eagle Lake Desolation Wilderness Area (including Emerald Bay) Snowpack Observation Glide Crack in top of underlying granite slab Public
03/21/2019 - 12:15 Martis Valley West Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Constant cracking while skinning Trees holding a dusting of snow on their north faces, beginning at 6800ft Ski penetration 3-4in Layers marked are (from top): new/old snow interface, very weak layer, beginning of melt/freeze snow, end of melt/freeze snow Rounds taken from melt/freeze layer, mostly 1mm diameter, but stuck together in 3-5mm balls Break from crude shovel shear test Public
03/21/2019 - 12:00 Tamarack Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Very small roller balls on a 20 degree slope. None were observed larger than a billiard ball all day. 15cm of fist hardness storm snow on top of 20cm of 1F snow, under that pencil hardness. ECTN6. New storm snow would fracture at the new/old snow interface, but no propagation occurred. Small cornices at the top of hourglass bowl, NE aspect Public
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
03/20/2019 - 16:30 Castle Peak Donner Summit Area Avalanche Observation Wind slab from a hand pit. This slab was 5 inches thick. While it did not break super cleanly, it did break with minimal force. This photo shows the slab rotated up 90 degrees. Public
03/20/2019 - 12:30 Rubicon Peak West Shore Area Snowpack Observation 4 inches of wind affected snow near the summit of Rubicon Small inconsequential wind slab near the summit of Rubicon Upper snowpack at around 8000 ft. on an E aspect on Rubicon Cloudy skies looking N from Rubicon. Forecaster
03/20/2019 - 12:00 Tamarack Peak Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation New snow became sticky when the sun came out with small roller balls. Up to 6'' wind slabs showed minor cracking in the most wind loaded areas. Thick high cloud cover existed throughout the morning hours. Periods of sun with blue skies started around 1pm. Forecaster
03/19/2019 - 12:30 Slide Mountain Mount Rose Area Snowpack Observation Small loose wet instability on a S facing test slope at 9200 ft at 12:50 pm. Ankle deep wet snow on a S facing slope at 8000 ft. at 1 pm Wind affected snow on a N - NW aspect at around 9400 ft. Breakable crust on a N facing slope at 9000 ft. Forecaster
03/19/2019 - 12:00 Mt. Judah Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Signs of creep behind cornices. S aspect test slope at ~8,100' showing the presence of loose wet avalanche problem at noon. 6" thick surface melt-freeze layer with supportable crust separating wet snow from dry snow below. Wet snow surface layer at 7,800' on S aspect barely still ski supportable but with near boot top penetration at 12:30pm. Forecaster
03/19/2019 - 11:00 Donner Summit Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Photo of the compression test failure we saw in the artificially loaded tests on a shade N aspect. Public
03/18/2019 - 14:30 Hank's Coulior Mount Rose Area Avalanche Observation Public
03/18/2019 - 11:30 Red Lake Peak Carson Pass Area Snowpack Observation Small loose wet avalanches on gully feature just below 9000' at noon. Cold wind blown snow exists on NW-N aspects in this area at 9600' with no signs of surface melt. Forecaster
03/18/2019 - 10:45 Janine's Ridge Desolation Wilderness Area (including Emerald Bay) Snowpack Observation Cold wintry snow lingered in a few shady high elevation zones. In sunny areas several inches of transitioning wet snow was present by late morning. Many steep sunny slopes had evidence of recent previous loose wet avalanche activity. Towards the end of our tour around 2pm, we found a slope with fully wet and weak snow. My pole is fully sunk into the weak snow. Professional Observer
03/17/2019 - 15:00 Castle Peak Donner Summit Area Snowpack Observation Wet surface snow at lower elevation Roller balls of various sizes on South face East facing cornices with roller balls Thin ice crust forming across surface High elevation trees holding their N facing snow Cornices on North bowl of castle Public