|Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
|Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
|Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential.
|Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
|Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
|Likelihood of Avalanches
|Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely.
|Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible.
|Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely.
|Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely.
|Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
|Avalanche Size and Distribution
|Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain.
|Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas.
|Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas.
|Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas.
|Very large avalanches in many areas.
|Size (D scale)
|Unlikely to bury a person
|Can bury a person
|Can destroy a house
|4 & 5
|Can destroy part or all of a village
With another round of beautiful weather on tap for today, it will be a great day to get out and soak up some sun. Our main concern will be triggering an avalanche on steep terrain with lingering wind slabs. Due to the fact we are only a few days out from a strong wind event, and taking into account the shift in wind direction since early Monday morning, we expect it will still be possible to trigger a wind slab avalanche on steep, wind-loaded slopes. The good news is that these avalanches are becoming increasingly difficult to trigger, and terrain with sensitive wind slabs is becoming more difficult to find. But we can’t rule out these avalanches just yet, and it is important to not let your guard down. Before moving into steep terrain, be sure to look for indicators of recent wind loading. This may look like a smooth pillow of drifted snow, or maybe a rippled texture across the surface. Wind slabs are also stiffer than snow that has not been transported by the wind. Pay attention to clear indicators of unstable snow– shooting cracks, collapsing, and other avalanches– and stick to lower angle terrain if you are noticing any of these.
Cornices: Cornices are starting to get quite large throughout the area. We have seen these failing naturally on the tail of Saturday’s storm, and they are still sensitive enough that an unlucky person could cause one to fail. While they are now big enough to pose a serious hazard on their own, they could also provide a large enough load to trigger a stubborn wind slab avalanche below. If your travel plans involve traveling along ridgelines, be sure you keep plenty of distance from the edge. It will also be important to minimize time spent below cornices.
Sluffs: We received multiple reports of skiers triggering dry loose avalanches (sluffs) with increasing volume yesterday. If you are planning on moving into steep terrain, be aware of these avalanches, as they may be large enough to carry a person into dangerous terrain traps like cliffs, rocks, trees, or gullies.
Textured, wind-drifted snow on Cornbiscuit. Photo: Troy Tempel. 01.24.2021
We are continuing to see new glide activity in the area. We have recently seen glide cracks open and release in Eddies, Raggedtop, Goat Shoulder, Penguin Ridge, Seattle Ridge, Warmup bowl, Gilpatricks, and Devil’s creek. These avalanches are unpredictable, and they involve the entire snowpack– which at this point is up to 10-15’ deep. Be sure to avoid getting on or below slopes with glide cracks, and let us know if you see any new cracks or releases.
Yesterday: We saw mostly sunny skies with light westerly winds blowing 5-10 mph near ridgetops. High temperatures were in the low to upper 20’s F during the day, and lows were in the low to upper teens F last night.
Today: We should see another beautiful with plenty of sunshine. We are expecting temperatures in the high teens at upper elevations, and in the low 20’s at lower elevations. Westerly winds are expected to blow around 5-10 mph at ridgetops. There is a chance of patches of valley fog as cold air moves into the region.
Tomorrow: We are expecting increasing cloud cover through the day tomorrow as an upper level ridge gives way to our next low pressure system, which should move into our area early Thursday morning. Light easterly winds are expected around 5-10 mph near ridgetops, and we should see temperatures stay in the low to upper teens. Little to no precipitation is expected until late tomorrow night or early Thursday morning.
PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)
|Snow Depth (in)
|Center Ridge (1880′)
|Summit Lake (1400′)
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)
*Snotel sites have been down since 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.
RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)
|Wind Avg (mph)
|Wind Gust (mph)
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)
|Observation: Kickstep NE Bowl
|Observation: TinCan Backdoor/ Center Ridge
|AAS L1 Turnagain
|Avalanche: Lynx Creek
|Observation: Turnagain, Seattle, Mt Ascension
|Silverton Mountain Guides
|Observation: Tincan Trees
|Dalpes/Thamm/ Schauer Forecaster
|Observation: Seward Highway across from Johnson Pass TH
|Avalanche: Base of Seattle Ridge
|Troy Tempel, Thomas Lees, .Josh Bollaert, Damian Naquin
|Observation: Lynx creek