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Avalanche Advisory for 2018-01-02 06:50:58

  • EXPIRED ON January 3, 2018 @ 6:50 am
    Published on January 2, 2018 @ 6:50 am
  • Issued by Andrew Kiefer - Mt Shasta Avalanche Center
  • January 2, 2018 @ 6:50 am

    Advisory Hotline: (530) 926-9613

  • LOW avalanche danger and generally safe avalanche conditions exist. Sparse coverage and icy slopes present significant travel hazards in the backcountry. 

  • Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

Avalanche Problem 1: Normal Caution

  • Character ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?
  • Likelihood ?
    Very Likely
  • Size ?
    Very Large

Normal caution is advised. The icy, thin snowpack continues to create backcountry travel hazards. Steep terrain above treeline is challenging and dangerous. Arresting a fall in these conditions is difficult. Watch out for rocks. Low angle slopes with smooth ground cover offer the best skiing and riding.

  • Ski and ride one at a time in avalanche terrain.
  • Don’t regroup in run-out zones.
  • Avalanche rescue skills are essential when in avalanche terrain.

Advisory Discussion

For several days, the advisory area has experienced clear and warm weather and LOW avalanche hazard. A re-cap of our season: October and November storms laid a shallow snowpack at high elevations on Mount Shasta. During Thanksgiving week, it rained up to 10,000ft. This rain event capped the snow surface with a crust at 7,000ft and above, and eliminated any snow below. We had two small storm events in December totaling 10 inches of snow and less than 1 inch of SWE. December 2017 was the second driest December in the past 107 years in Mount Shasta. High pressure has dominated our weather pattern. Precipitation is well below average, and a large portion of our advisory area is free of snow. Mount Shasta and Ash Creek Butte are the only areas with a rideable snowpack. 

Recent Observations

The thin snowpack throughout the advisory area is melting quickly. Over the past week, there has been a noticeable loss in snow height, especially in terrain 8,000ft and below on Mount Shasta. Coverage is sparse, but snowpack stability is very good. Rockfall and icefall were observed yesterday in Avalanche Gulch. Very little wind, warm temperatures, and direct sunlight allowed the snow surface to soften on southerly slopes. Surprisingly, there was consistent corn and pretty good skiing from 10,000ft all the way down to Bunny Flat. 

Weather and Current Conditions

Weather Summary

A high-pressure ridge remains in place over the western US. Low-level clouds and valley fog will erode by mid morning, and sunshine and clear skies are expected. Light southerly winds and high temperatures near 50 degrees will make for another unseasonably warm day. A change to an active weather pattern will occur late Wednesday and into the end of the week. A front will cross the area Wednesday night into Thursday bringing warm air, strong southwest winds, and very light precipitation with snow levels between 7,500-8,500ft. A colder low-pressure system will follow on Thursday night and Friday morning. Precipitation should be greatest during this time period and snow levels will be dropping to 5,500ft. Precipitation is possible every day Wednesday through Saturday. Total accumulation of 1 inch of water (mix of rain and snow) is forecast by the end of the weekend.


THIS SEASON PRECIPITATION for MT SHASTA CITY: Since October 1st (the wet season), we have received 5.83 inches of water, normal is 15.45 inches, putting us at 38% of normal. For the month of January, we have received 0 inches of water, normal is .24 inches, which is 0% of normal. And finally for the year of 2017, we received 0 inches of water, normal is .24 inches, putting us at 0% of normal.

Always check the weather before you attempt to climb Mt Shasta. Further, monitor the weather as you climb. Becoming caught on the mountain in any type of weather can compromise life and limb. Be prepared.

24 Hour Weather Station Data @ 5:00 AM

Weather Station Temp (°F) Wind (mi/hr) Snow (in) Comments
Cur Min Max Avg Avg Max Gust Dir Depth New Water Equivalent Settlement
Mt. Shasta City (3540 ft) 32 31 50 38 3 N
Sand Flat (6750 ft) 42 32 47 39 14 0 0 0
Ski Bowl (7600 ft) 41 36 46 41 18 0 0 0
Grey Butte (8000 ft) 41 37 45 40 10 25 E
Castle Lake (5870 ft) 43 42 50 45 8 0 0
Mount Eddy (6509 ft) 38 35 47 40 2 5 WSW 10 0 0
Ash Creek Bowl (7250 ft) station down
Ash Creek Ridge (7895 ft) station down

Two Day Mountain Weather Forecast

Produced in partnership with the Medford NWS

For 7000 ft to 9000 ft
  Tuesday Tuesday Night Wednesday
Weather Mostly Cloudy A 20% chance of light chance of showers after 10pm. Mostly cloudy. A 20% chance of rain. Mostly cloudy.
Temperatures 50 deg. F. 46 deg. F. 48 deg. F.
Wind direction East/Southeast Southeast South/Southeast
Wind speed 5-10 mph 5-10 mph 5-10 mph
Expected snowfall 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
For 9000 ft to 11000 ft
  Tuesday Tuesday Night Wednesday
Weather Mostly Cloudy A 20% chance of chance of showers after 10pm. Mostly cloudy. Windy. A 30% chance of snow after 4pm. Mostly cloudy. Windy.
Temperatures 33 deg. F. 30 deg. F. 28 deg. F.
Wind direction Southwest South South
Wind speed 10-15 mph, gusting 20 mph 20-30 mph, gusting 40 mph 20-25 mph, gusting 30 mph
Expected snowfall 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.


This advisory does not apply to Ski Areas or Highways and is for the Mount Shasta, Castle Lake and Mount Eddy backcountry. Use this information for guidance only. You may find different conditions in the backcountry and should travel accordingly. This advisory expires on midnight of the date it was posted unless otherwise noted.