|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.
We’ve received a few more reports of impressive cornice falls, the exact timing of which is unknown. Without a trigger such as a person, dog, or snowmachine weighting the top of the cornice, failure is unlikely and very difficult to predict. Heat from the sun this afternoon does not look like a big factor today, but it is worth considering that they lose strength as the air temperature gets close to the melting point.
Avoiding unstable cornices is the key to staying safe around them. Try not to spend excessive time underneath them and know what is underneath you when traveling along ridges.
Wind slabs are possible in higher elevation terrain, and the surprise factor and ability to propagate across larger areas could make even shallow wind slabs dangerous in steep terrain. We got one report yesterday from the Portage valley area of a larger but shallow wind slab, the timing is unknown. Wind overnight briefly got strong enough to blow snow around. This concern should remain the exception rather than the rule.
Additional Concerns –
From what we saw yesterday, loose snow will move but I wouldn’t really call it a problem. In steep terrain our team could get the top 4 inches of snow to sluff easily, but volume was low and the moving snow stayed very manageable for a skier.
Wet snow sluffs are possible on south facing slopes late in the day. Again, everything we’ve seen qualifies as manageable, low volume, and slow moving. We have yet to see wet sluffs propagate into larger slab avalanches.
Today looks like another day of perfect late winter weather. Sun is in the forecast, with increasing clouds this afternoon transitioning to snow tonight and tomorrow. Wind is light currently and should stay minimal throughout the day. Temperatures are relatively cold, but the sunny skies will help to make the afternoon comfortable and warm. This morning temperatures range from the mid teens in most areas to slightly below zero in the standard cold spots such as Summit Lake and Granite creek.
Tonight, snow is possible but the bulk of the precipitation looks to be in the daylight hours on Thursday.
Graham will issue the next advisory Thurday morning, March 14th.
|Dalpes/Thamm/ Schauer Forecaster
|Avalanche: Base of Seattle Ridge
|Troy Tempel, Thomas Lees, .Josh Bollaert, Damian Naquin
|Observation: Lynx creek
|Observation: Tincan Trees
|Moderow / Clayton
|Observation: Turnagain (below the uptrack)
|Alaska Avalanche School Moto Level 2
|John Sykes Forecaster
|Observation: Tincan Backdoor, Center Ridge
|AAS Level 1 / R Sullivan
|Avalanche: Tincan Trees
|Schauer/ Moderow/ Stephenson Forecaster