We had a major avalanche cycle Sunday. Temperatures continue to be VERY warm and have remained above freezing for over 4 days (below 5000ft). A ton of snowpack has avalanched in almost all areas, but there are lingering sections of hangfire that haven't come down. We need temperatures to drop to below freezing for a few days before the threat diminishes.
Problem #1: Wet Slides
Location: ALL aspects below 5500ft, slopes steeper than 30 degrees.
We're expecting 0.2-0.4" of rain Saturday below 5000ft. The increased water will exacerbate the wet slide problem that has been lingering all week. There is a series of crusts in the midpack (~90cm deep) that will channel water and act as a bed surface, with potential for deeper step downs as well. Thus any wet slides will be large, dangerous, and flowing like cement. Stick to low angle slopes, even in the trees. Even wet point releases (sluffs) will tend to gouge deep and easily carry a rider into a dangerous situation. All gullies and terrain traps need to be given a wide berth.
There was a large natural avalanche cycle Sunday 3/17. D3 slides were common on all aspects and elevations above 1500ft. A few D4 slides were observed with unusually long runouts (one of them over 1 mile long). That cycle has ended, but warm temperatures continue to bring down the occasional wet slide from steep south aspects.
Aftermath of the major avalanche cycle:
Our zones received 2-4" of SWE last weekend, and snow levels rose to 4500-5000ft, causing a major avalanche cycle. Since then, it has been quite warm, with temperatures above freezing at 4600ft and lower, for the last 4-5 days straight. Temperatures will begin to cool off a little this weekend, with some light rain on Saturday.
Snow Depth [in]
Last 24-hr Snow/SWE [in]
Last 3-days Snow/SWE [in]
Today's Freezing Level [ft]
Next 48-hr Snow/SWE
0" / 0.20
5500ft falling to 4000ft sunday
0" / 0.20 *
0" / 0.40 *
0" / 0.70
0" / 0.30 *
( *star means meteorological estimate )
If you get out riding, please send in an observation!
Do a rescue practice with your partners. Always carry a beacon, shovel, and probe, and KNOW HOW TO USE THEM.
Practice good risk management, which means only expose one person at a time to slopes 30 degrees and steeper, make group communication and unanimous decision making a priority, and choose your terrain wisely: eliminating unnecessary exposure and planning out your safe zones and escape routes.
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