Spring conditions this week on Mt. Shasta

What a season…With fluctuations in the snow levels, we have been seeing rain up to 8,500′ dropping to 6,000′. By Monday morning temps had dropped and we had over a foot of new, cold snow above treeline. Add some steady winds from the north and we had avalanche concern for steeper south aspects on the upper mountain. The concern was confirmed when we skied up to a group who had triggered an avalanche that partially buried 4 of the 5 snow sliders in upper Anaconda Gulch on 3.10. Close call, heads up out there, we have had several storm systems with little time for the snow pack to adjust to the recent loads.

Climbing Casaval Ridge

Climbing Casaval Ridge

With careful route planning excellent snow conditions can be found.

Mt. Shasta backcountry conditions perfect!

Mt. Shasta backcountry conditions perfect!

Regular storms and light winds has delivered excellent ski conditions on the mountain. We are looking at several days of high pressure and warming temps, we may see 70 in town by this weekend. With that in mind we will likely see many Shastafarians enjoying the near perfect conditions, a welcome sight after a dry winter.

Snowboarding past avalanche debris in Avalanche Gulch

Snowboarding past avalanche debris in Avalanche Gulch

We’re stoked about the recent snow, we are still below average however. This may be a good year to be on Shasta earlier than later in the season. Unless of course, March and April return with wet weather and added snow. It’s never too late for winter conditions on the mountain.

We have our last AIARE Avalanche Course starting Friday. Upcoming guide training and summit season coming soon. Keep up the snow dance!

Welcome Spring with great snow conditions!

Green Butte Ridge

Green Butte Ridge

It was a week to climb the ridges. With small systems bringing us regular snow fall, we had to carefully watch the forecast and gamble a bit on getting into the alpine zone. Patience paid off and the rewards were near perfect powder skiing! The key this week was relatively light winds at the mid elevations. This laid a smooth, even blanket of Cascade powder and made for the best turns of the season! Taking advantage of the new snow, I was able to try the new Black Diamond Amperages in their intended element and had some of the most fun ever sliding on snow. Modern gear and designs are increasing the fun factor immensely, check it out!

Casaval Ridge on 3.23.12

Casaval Ridge on 3.23.12

As we would expect this season, Mother Nature completely disregarded the change to Spring and brought cool temps and snow to the mountain this week. We’re close to about 60% of normal for the snowpack this year. With another Winter storm advisory today, the hopes are for a continued wet pattern for the Spring. We’re encouraged by these conditions and are looking forward to a fun, and perhaps earlier climbing season.

We’ve had a great week of ski touring and Avalanche Courses. Rich and Dane completed our final AIARE Level I and Chris finished up a Level I with the Lassen National Park Ski Patrol. With regular new snow fall, it made for excellent conditions for the class and estatic skiers in the backcountry.

Casaval Ridge

Casaval Ridge

 

Thoughts are slowly starting to think of summit climbs and descents from the upper mountain. We’re still in a winter weather pattern and may focus on the skiing the mid and lower mountain ¬†for a few more weeks. Until then; Casaval, Green Butte, the Middle Moraines, etc. are all holding some of the best conditions of the season. Call or email for details!