|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.
If I had to pick one of our avalanche problems to talk about a primary concern, then wind slab would be the one. We have not seen any pockets with a tendency to pop under the weight of a person. Even in the places where stiff surface snow can be found, it has a stubborn, low tension nature.
In areas that are not exposed to wind, the snowpack is 15-30 inches of weak faceted snow. The cold and clear temperatures combined with shallow snow have formed a steep temperature gradient and changed the snow to big sugary crystals.
The snowpack is shallow… Exposed rocks and vegetation are abundant. That lack of coverage is probably the biggest safety concern for skiers and snowboarders in the backcountry right now.
It has been nearly a week since significant snowfall. Cold temperatures and clear skies gave way to a big change yesterday, but not the white stuff that we were hoping for. Temperatures at some ridgetop weather stations are above freezing this morning. A freezing rain advisory is in effect for Anchorage and the greater region, including Girdwood and the Kenai peninsula. Driving conditions deteriorated yesterday evening with a slick glaze of ice on the roads, and that freezing rain will continue today.
Freezing rain is expected to form a surface crust on our snowpack. This isn’t an avalanche concern for now, but may become a weak layer interface when the crust gets buried by later snow storms.
|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