Benign weather over the last week has allowed the snowpack to settle and gain strength in the Maritime climate zone. Incremental snowfall and wind loading in isolated areas will keep the possibility there for triggering shallow avalanches in steep terrain and in close proximity to ridge lines. Instabilities that exist should give red flags like shooting cracks, collapsing or hard snow over soft.
The Persistent weak layer that caused the most recent natural avalanche cycle on Thompson Pass has not been located in the Maritime climate zone and likely does not exist. If traveling north of Keystone Canyon use the intermountain or continental forecast pages.
Weak snow exists near the base of our snowpack in all three climate zones. A step down avalanche occurred during the 1/23-25 storm on Nicks Buttress (see avalanche activity section). The was the first activity at this layer since 1/6, but does show that weak snow near the base of the snowpack can still produce avalanches.
Faceted snow near the ground has been found to vary significantly from place to place. In most locations this snow has been found to be rounding (gaining strength) and unreactive in stability tests. In thin areas of the snowpack these facets are significantly more developed. On 1/31 a very thin snowpack was found (28-36 inches) ~4000′ on Nicks buttress/North aspect. Stability tests produced propagation near the ground failing on 6mm depth hoar. The most likely places to affect weak snow near the ground will be in areas where the snowpack is thin.
Tracks on a slope are not a sign of stability with this problem.
Depth hoar from Nicks Buttress ~4000′ North aspect 1/31.
Below is a summary of observed Avalanche activity from the last 7 days. Avalanches that were noted earlier in the season can be viewed by clicking the link below.
If you trigger or observe a natural avalanche consider leaving a public observation.
Valdez Avalanche Activity
No avalanches reported or observed in the last 7 days.
Check out our updated weather tab! A collection of local weather stations are available for viewing with graphs and tabular data included.
NWS Watches and warnings
NWS Point forecast for Thompson Pass
Date Thursday 02/02/23 Friday 02/03/23
Time (LT) 06 12 18 00 06 12 18 00 06
Cloud Cover OV OV OV OV OV OV OV OV OV
Cloud Cover (%) 100 90 85 85 90 80 90 85 85
Temperature 21 23 23 20 20 22 22 18 18
Max/Min Temp 25 19 24 18
Wind Dir E SE S SE SE SE SE SE E
Wind (mph) 3 2 2 3 3 3 2 2 3
Wind Gust (mph)
Precip Prob (%) 80 50 10 30 40 30 30 20 60
Precip Type S S S S S S S S
12 Hour QPF 0.14 0.03 0.06 0.05
12 Hour Snow 1.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Snow Level (kft) 0.5 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Click on link below for Thompson Pass weather history graph:
*HN24W- 24 hour Snow water equivalent in inches
*SWE– Snow water equivalent
**46 mile seasonal snowfall total begins December 1st.
Click on the link below for a running summary of the seasons weather history.
Valdez Weather History
The avalanche hazard is moderate above 3000′ and low below in the Maritime climate zone. Benign weather over the last week has allowed the snowpack to settle and gain strength near the coast. It remains possible to trigger instabilities up to 1 foot in depth in steep terrain and in close proximity to high elevation ridge lines. Watch for signs of instability such as shooting cracks, collapsing and recent avalanche activity.
Posted by Gareth Brown 02/02 7:45 am.
For a description of current avalanche problems, weather information, season history and more click the (+ full forecast) button. Avalanche forecasts will be issued Wednesday-Sunday.
If you have pictures of recent natural or human triggered avalanches or notice signs of instability such as shooting cracks or collapsing, leave an observation to help improve forecast accuracy.
Forgot your password?
Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive mail with link to set new password.
Back to login
Enter the destination URL
Or link to existing content