Above 2,500ft Considerable
1,500 to 2,500ft Considerable
Below 1,500ft Moderate
Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?
Avalanche Problem #1: Storm Snow
Above 1500ft: In areas where the new snow hasn’t been stripped away or wind-affected, we have around a meter of fresh storm snow that is still settling and bonding. North-ish aspects will tend to harbor the most new snow, but keep an eye out for soft slabs that may slide on density interfaces within the new snow, especially on slopes 33 degrees and steeper. Below treeline, watch out in any steep open areas or sparse trees. Human-triggering will still be likely in these areas and the consequences of a slide in the trees are often dire due to terrain traps and trauma.
Avalanche Problem #2: Wind Slab
This week’s south winds were raging, blowing copious new snow into fresh wind slabs on lee aspects. Any wind loaded slopes steeper than 25 degrees should be avoided until these slabs have some time to bond. These slabs may be thick, and may easily break up to 90cm deep.
Recent Avalanche Activity
There was a natural avalanche cycle during last week’s heavy storm cycle. Some Size 4 slides occurred, some of them hitting valley bottoms. They appear to have occurred in heavily wind loaded areas at or just above the new/old snow interface.
Lingering clouds and light snow Sunday should start to clear out by evening. South winds will be decreasing as well. Cool, calm, and sunny weather is on tap next week.
The 27th-28th brought 3-4″ of precipitation, with snow levels near 1500ft. This added up to 2-3 feet of wet snow at treeline. South winds were very strong, 30-60mph.
The 24th-25th brought 20-30″ of moist snow above 1000ft. Moderate south winds.
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?