Thank you all for another great season in the amazing Chugach!!! Daily forecasts are now finished, but this does not mean there is no avalanche danger. Please plan your spring mountain adventures keeping in mind that if it is warm enough for you to shed layers, the snow will too. Read this summary blog of spring avalanche conditions from Avalanche Canada. Keep heads up.
VAC Annual Membership and Advisory Board Meeting May 3 5-7pm Downstairs Valdez Library Get involved! We need your feedback, ideas, and good energy to plan for another successful season 2017-18.
Above 2,500ft None
1,800 to 2,500ft None
Below 1,800ft None
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 diurnal melt freeze cycle has created corn snow, providing for some pleasant spring riding. When the surface crusts are still frozen, good traveling is possible. The exception being steep south facing slopes where the full depth of the snowpack has become rotten or isothermal and lower elevations where overnight temperature has not been cool enough to freeze the snow. Late in the afternoon, punchy, soft snow will limit your ability to travel and increase your risk to avalanche.
We have not seen many full depth avalanches yet, more a peeling of the onion, with wet loose and/or melt taking off layer upon layer. As the temperatures increase over the the next few weeks with less overnight freezing, expect wet slab releases possible.
Please avoid exposure to cornices. Read and listen to this sad spring cornice accident story from British Columbia earlier in April.
Sharing your observations creates an informed community.
Recent Avalanche Activity
Continental (Interior) Specific:
- Expect wet loose in steeps with the possibility of wet slab with no overnight freeze.
- 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.