|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.
The interface that we have found most likely to fail is around the early December freezing-drizzle crust. This layer is now buried 12-18 inches or deeper in wind loaded areas. See this observation for a pit profile. Every new bit of snow adds stress to those layers, but we haven’t had any large storms to overload the snowpack to widespread failure – meaning no large natural avalanche cycle. This leaves some areas on the brink of failure, waiting for a trigger to release that energy. A lot of people have noticed widespread whoomphing as the layers collapse when a person walks or rides on the snow. In a few cases the slope was steep enough to avalanche when that collapse happened.
A small amount of new snow today will add to the stress in the snowpack, but probably not enough to cause natural avalanches. The overall avalanche problem today will be similar to the last few days.
Photos from Tenderfoot, above Summit Lake from Friday.
A little bit of snow fell overnight. About 2 inches of new are on the ground as of 6am. A moderate east wind has been steady through the night, gusting to a peak of 27 at Sunburst.
Another 2 inches of snow is expected to fall through the day today. Temperatures are approaching freezing, and may pass that mark at lower elevations. A freezing rain advisory is in effect, mainly in the interior Kenai from Turnagain pass to Moose pass.
|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