Observations from this zone are lacking. If you get out riding in the Pass area, please send in any observations.
Above 2,500ft None
1,500 to 2,500ft None
Below 1,500ft None
Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?
Problem #1: Wind Slab
Distribution: West-North-Northeast aspects above 1500ft. New snow from the last several days has been blown around by SE winds, building recent wind slabs at the top of the snowpack. These are still forming and need more time to bond. Be especially careful of this on wind loaded slopes steeper than 30 degrees.
Problem #2: Persistent Slab
Distribution: All aspects above 1500ft. If you dig down about 1 meter deep, we have hard slab with weak, facetted snow underneath. There’s also an old rain crust below that with facets above and below (see profile below). Last week, we saw lots of natural and human-triggered slides on these layers. These weak layers have started to slowly strengthen, but loading is increasing and they may re-activate. The added load from new snow will increase the amount of stress on these weak layers, and some large natural avalanches 3-5ft deep are possible.
Problem #3: Deep Slab
Distribution: Isolated, on wind-blown slopes with thin snowpack less than 1m thick. Generally around ridgelines, and anywhere rocks are exposed or thinly buried. All aspects. Elevations above 3000ft. In the Pass zone, there are extensive weak facets at the ground in any areas of thin snowpack. We’re now seeing natural slides on this basal facet layer in areas north of the Pass (see photo). Even in places with deeper snow, there remain trigger points near rocks/thin areas. If you were to trigger a slide on this layer, it would be a deep, wide, hard slab avalanche with deadly consequences. This is a low-probability high-danger situation that is very difficult to manage, so it’s best to exercise caution. Be very careful to avoid rocky trigger points and thin areas. Stick to slopes with a deeper, more uniform snowpack.
Recent Avalanche Activity
Last week’s avalanche activity included several D3 slides, running about a meter deep on the troublesome Early March facet layer. This includes some slides that have been remotely triggered from ridgelines, and some skier-triggered slides and close calls.
Clouds and light precipitation will continue Monday-Tuesday, with around .25″ of precipitation. Winds will be light. A stronger front will come in Tuesday night-Wednesday, with heavier precipitation, south winds, and snow levels rising to near 3500ft.
3-8″ of snow above 1500ft this weekend.
3-8″ on March 29th above 2000ft. This was mostly in the Lutak Zone.
6-12″ on March 27th above 1000ft.
Additional Info & Media
We’ve been getting widespread reports of sketchy conditions for the last several days. This includes lots of whumphing, shooting cracks, and fresh avalanche activity. Be conservative, and avoid avalanche terrain when possible.