The only recently reported avalanche was a natural glide avalanche near 31 mile where the Tsaina River meets Richardson Hwy.
Photo thanks to @hewitt_clyde, There is also a recent video update of glide cracks on our FB page: https://www.facebook.com/valdezavycenter/videos/839450486398343/
Please share your field observations including signs of stable snow HERE.
The most recent NWS rec Forecast can be found HERE:
304 PM AKST Sat Jan 12 2019
The Thompson Pass Mountain Forecast covers the mountains (above
1000 ft) surrounding Keystone Canyon through Thompson Pass to
Temp at 1000` 20 F 30 F
Temp at 3000` 21-30 F 31 F
Chance of precip 100% 80%
(above 1000 FT) 0.28 in 0.12 in
(above 1000 FT) 4-9 in 1-3 in
Snow level sea level sea level
Wind 3000` ridges NE 10-25 mph SE 0-15 mph
SNOWPACK BIG PICTURE: Jan 12-13 brought 3-10″ of new snow with little wind. The region had been high and dry, cold, and dry, since Jan 5th with moderate+ north winds blowing the New Year’s storms’ snow and building wind slabs. In non-windy locations Surface Hoar and Near Surface Facets have formed and may be a future problem layer. The New Year’s Eve storm brought nearly 2.5″ of SWE to Valdez and almost another 1″ (SWE) on the 2-3rd of January. The rain line was 1200′ during the Jan 2-3 storm (which has now formed a 1-3″ crust locking up all the snow beneath it). That is a LOT of snow and rain in 5 days and it accumulated to over 3′ above 2000′ near Thompson Pass. Both of these storms had little wind. Above 4000′ the snowpack averages well over 300cm deep and has good strength and structure (few lemons). Below 4000′, the snowpack is significantly shallower and has problem layers that are bonding well (rounding) and currently dormant: facet-crust combos and BASEL facets (all the way to sea level).
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.
There is no current hazard rating for the Valdez region. Almost a foot of new snow arrived this weekend (Jan 12-13) with little wind. There has been widespread Surface Hoar and Near Surface Faceting that the new snow is sitting on, which will be a problem layer in the future. The new snow has been running as Dry Loose Avalanches and entraining older snow (WATCH YOUR SLUFF). The new snow is also available for transport when the wind picks up. Click FULL FORECAST for Sunday’s hazard information and please share your field observations HERE.
There are a lot of events coming up in January, check out our Facebook page for the complete list.
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