Large, full-path natural avalanches will be possible today. Avoid lower runout zones.
Above 2,500ft High
1,500 to 2,500ft High
Below 1,500ft High
Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?
Avalanche Problem #1: Storm Slab
Heavy snowfall and strong southerly winds continue today. Natural and human-triggered slides remain likely within the new snow and at the new/old snow interface. Wind-loaded slopes on lee aspects and terrain features will be especially dangerous. North-facing avalanche chutes may produce large avalanches. Avoid lower runouts.
Avalanche Problem #2: Wet Slides
This will be a concern only below 1,500ft. As heavy rain wets the new snow, expect wet sluffs and wet slabs to occur on slopes steeper than 32 degrees. Steep open areas and gullies/terrain traps will be dangerous during this period.
Avalanche Problem #3: Deep Slab
Finally, there is a layer of large facets about 1m deep in this zone. Though it will be hard to trigger this layer, the very heavy new load of fresh snow will add a lot of stress. Avalanches at the surface may step down this deep, leading to wide and deep propagation. Avoiding rocky and thin areas will help minimize the risk of triggering this layer. Remote triggering is also possible on this layer, so stay out from below steep slopes.
Recent Avalanche Activity
There were isolated areas of wet and dry loose slides coming down from steep/cliffy terrain, mainly on sun-affected slopes. None of this activity was large, and occurred during warm temperatures earlier this week.
Snow totals from the 12th-16th are around 40-60″ above 1200ft (highest amounts in the Lutak zone, with less towards the Pass). Below that level was mostly rain. South winds were strong throughout the storm, and there were brief periods of rain up to 2500ft near town.
Snow levels will be slowly dropping towards sea level Monday evening as cold air filters in from the north. Precipitation will continue Monday, with up to 12″ of additional snowfall. After a break in the weather on Tuesday, more snow is expected Wednesday-Thursday with cold temperatures and accumulations at sea level.
Additional Info & Media
2017 New Year’s resolution – develop backcountry habits to LIVE TO RIDE ANOTHER DAY:
- everyone in my riding group has a functioning beacon, probe, and shovel (& floatpack)
- my group chooses to avoid slopes with rocky trigger points
- my group chooses to avoid slopes with terrain traps; cliffs, gullies, and creek ravines
- my group agrees that one rider on a steep slope at a time is what we do
- my group gathers out of harm’s way, beyond the run-out
- my group reviews our day – where could we have triggered a slide? how can we improve our plan?