When the weather has been as dry as it has, I think it is useful to continue comparing the historic snow levels on Mount Shasta. It has been nearly two months since the last time I posted a snow update. The last snow post came on the heels of a pretty good storm that dumped a fair amount of snow on Mount Shasta. Though much of it melted off, a fair amount stuck around, especially on the north and east sides of Mount Shasta. The last two days have seen some precipitation and I anticipated a good pile of snow on the mountain. I was a bit surprised this morning when I observed that it was not nearly as thick a blanket of snow as I had expected. It must have been windy because it seemed that all the spots that usually accumulate were swept clean of all but a light dusting of snow. Still, Mount Shasta was glorious this morning, even if the snow was not as much as I had thought it would be.
Needless to say, we need a lot more snow and rain. Shasta Lake is only about 39% capacity at the time. I have not seen it that low since the summer of 2008. It stayed at low capacity for a year, filling up only slightly during the winter of 2009. The following winter in 2010 saw some epic storms and the lake filled up swiftly. The lake level has remained high for a long time after that. Though the water in Shasta Lake comes from as far away as the Warner Mountains and corners of southern Oregon around Lakeview, the lake obviously relies heavily on the snowfall in the Mount Shasta area. Both the Trinity Divide and the underground aquifers that surround the mountain supply much of the water that ends up in the lake. The Trinity Divide got a fair amount of snow from this last storm too. The snow level only went down to about 6,000 feet but everything above that appears to have gotten a good dose of the white stuff. However, it does look as though it is not too deep and for those not deterred by hiking through a bit of snow, it does not look too deep to keep folks away from some cool winter hikes. Take advantage of the opportunity to hit these areas now because winter’s fury has yet to land on the Mount Shasta area with its full might.
As always, here is some historical perspective on the snow on Mount Shasta for this day over the last few years:
2011 (good luck with this one!)
There is still time to hit some of the higher trails before things are inevitably smothered in snow. Even if the high country and a little snow are not what one is looking for, some of the lower trails like the McCloud River Trail, Sacramento River Trail or the trails in the Castle Crags are great options right now, if you are willing to bundle up and brave the cold!