A natural wind slab avalanche released near 27-mile glacier above the DOT station in steep cross-loaded terrain. The avalanche probably occurred on Jan 19th.
A small wind slab was intentionally triggered on Jan 15 in North Odyssey Gulley at 3300′ on a wind loaded feature. 10″ crown, 30 yards wide.
Please share your field observations including signs of stable snow HERE.
Monday is forecasted to be mostly cloudy with moderate+ north winds, temps between 10F and freezing, with a small amount of snow accumulation.
The most recent NWS rec Forecast can be found HERE:
342 PM AKST Sun Jan 20 2019
The Thompson Pass Mountain Forecast covers the mountains (above
1000 ft) surrounding Keystone Canyon through Thompson Pass to
Temp at 1000` 10 F 21 F
Temp at 3000` 16-23 F 27 F
Chance of precip 60% 60%
(above 1000 FT) 0.08 in 0.11 in
(above 1000 FT) 0-1 in 0-2 in
Snow level sea level 400 ft
Wind 3000` ridges NE 4-36 mph E 2-20 mph
SNOWPACK BIG PICTURE: The snowpack has gained strength since the last major storm and avalanche cycle over New Years. No significant avalanche activity has been reported since then.
Recent snowpack history, from top to bottom:
Jan 13-19 was mostly clear and dry with light to moderate north winds. Widespread Surface Hoar growth.
Jan 12-13 brought 3-10″ of new snow with little wind.
Jan 4-12 was VERY cold and dry: moderate winds and wind chill reaching -50F. Pockets of surface hoar and widespread Near Surface Faceting.
Dec 30-Jan 3 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, forming a 1-3″ crust locking up all the snow beneath it. These storms accumulated 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 old 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.
The current avalanche hazard rating is MODERATE for the Valdez region. All three regions have the same forecast however; the further interior snowpack is substantially shallower and has more potential problem layers (use caution and always assess the slopes you plan to ride). There has been widespread Surface Hoar and Near Surface Faceting that is a growing concern as wind slabs and are forming and significant snowfall is expected early next week. Click FULL FORECAST for more safety 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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