Stay away from large slopes and terrain traps that have not frozen overnight.
Steer clear of warming slopes in the afternoon; have a plan and expose only one rider at a time.
Above 2,500ft Considerable
1,800 to 2,500ft Considerable
Below 1,800ft Considerable
Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?
Elevation: Below 5500′
Aspect: East in AM, South all day, then West in PM
Terrain: Steep terrain near rocks and vegetation.
Sensitivity: Touchy when warmed.
Likelihood (Human Triggered): Likely when warmed.
Danger Trend: Increasing quickly each day with warming temperatures, falling with freezing at night
Forecaster Confidence: Good
Terrain: corniced ridgelines
Likelihood (Human Triggered): Possible
Size: Small to Large
Danger Trend: Increasing
Forecaster Confidence: Fair
AVALANCHE PROBLEM SCALE DESCRIPTORS:
Sensitivity: Non-reactive, Stubborn, Responsive, Touchy
Distribution: Isolated, Specific, Widespread
Likelihood: Unlikely, Possible, Likely, Nearly Certain
Size: Small, Large, Very Large (size scale <here>)
Danger Trend: Increasing, Steady, Decreasing
Forecaster Confidence: Good, Fair, Poor
AVALANCHE PROBLEM TOOLBOX <here>
Continental (Interior) Specific:
The temperatures at night are hardly reaching below the freezing on the summit of the pass. Be extremely cautious of large slopes that have not frozen overnight. One easy way to tell if the snow has frozen or not is to simply stand on one leg and do a little one-footed hop. If you break through, the snow has reached its tipping point and has the potential for a wet slide avalanche. Areas of special concern are drainages that will act as a terrain trap similar to “Nick’s” and “North Odyssey” or even the Tsaina Valley. Once you reach the glaciated high alpine bowls, there will be a few inches of some soft fresh powder, and storm/windslabs will be the primary concern.
Sharing your observations creates an informed community.
Recent Avalanche Activity
Continental (Interior) Specific:
- April 23 Natural wet slab D2.5 above Deserted Glacier, west aspect, 5800′. Lots of south and west cornice failure and wet loose activity into the Woodworth and Deserted Glaciers.
April 14: reports of cornice failure triggering slab avalanches on steep upper elevation slopes in the Continental zone (see photo)
- March 31: skier triggered size D2 avalanche at 3500′ North aspect. 40-60cm storm slab failed on buried near surface facets with a old windslab as the bed surface. A possible sympathetic released lower on the same slope, with a crown depth 60-100cm, harder slab.
See Maritime Zone for updated weather.
Additional Info & Media
- Northeast Prince William Sound NWS Weather Forecast
- Middleton Island Radar for Valdez area
- GOES Alaska water vapor satellite loop
- NOAA NWS Recreational spot forecast for Thompson Pass
- Thompson Pass MP 25.7 RWIS weather station 2740′ (Mesowest)
- Valdez Marine Ferry Terminal weather station sea level
- Nicks Happy Valley above MP 30 weather station 4200′ (scroll to Nicks Valley)
- Upper Tsaina River Snotel near MP 32 1750′
- Sugarloaf Snotel 551′
- Above Valdez Glacier Cryosphere program weather station 6600′ <map here>
- Valdez Blueberry Weather Plot observations (scroll to bottom: Valdez City)
- More Mountain Weather resources for Alaska
- GFS 16 Day Model for Valdez
- Model Average Meteogram for Valdez
SNOW CLIMATE ZONES:
- Maritime (Coastal) – from the Port of Valdez to Thompson Pass, all waters flowing into Valdez Arm and everything south of Marshall Pass.
- Inter-mountain (Transitional) – between Thompson Pass and Rendezvous Lodge.
- Continental (Interior) – the dry north side of the Chugach (north of 46 Mile, including the Tonsina River).
Photo of Thompson Pass
Interactive Map of Valdez Forecast Areas w/ Many Resource Layers (Trevor Grams)
NEWS: Our region is “one of the snowiest places on earth” – Serendipity / Rendezvous snowfall record set in 1963 <here>.
Free smart phone avalanche forecasts at: http://www.