|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 primary concern for today will center around glide avalanches, for the countless time this season… These avalanches show no signs of abating and each day we see at least one new glide crack that has released. They are occurring on all aspects and predominantly at elevations ~3,000′ and below. To make matters a bit more concerning, there have been a couple instances where a glide avalanche occurred where no crack was present the day before. This is a tough situation to manage considering the snowpack as a whole is mostly stable.
Continuing to avoid being under cracks is our best bet, and will be till the snow melts out and/or sluffs off the mountains for the summer.
Snowmachiners: The Seattle Ridge up-track is threatened by a large glide crack and a few smaller ones that have yet to release.
Glide cracks and glide avalanches litter Seattle Ridge:
More of the same on Tincan Ridge:
As we work our way through this springtime regime and transition from a winter snowpack to a summer one, it’s time to think about how the surface is warming/softening, or not warming/softening. This is not only for sussing out good ski/riding conditions but for wet avalanche hazards as well. Yesterday we saw unsupportable and wet snow below 2,500′ where it was easy to initiate wet sluffs in steep terrain. Has this wet snow frozen overnight? Most likely there has been a shallow re-freeze limiting any wet avalanche hazard. However, temperatures climbing today and the possibility of sunshine may soften surface crusts again, allowing for wet avalanche activity to be possible.
Wet snow rule of thumb: If the snow is wet and mushy enough for your boot to sink in up to your ankle, or more, wet sluffs are possible and it’s time to find a more supportable slope. Also, wet sluffs can be quite dangerous as the debris is heavy, can generate a lot of momentum and be extremely difficult to escape.
Wet and ‘punchy’ snow exists at the lower elevations:
*With the recent winds could we have wind slabs? Possibly in the high elevations. These would likely be shallow and scattered along peaks above 3,500′. There is very little snow available for transport currently.
Winds blow a trace of snow around at the higher elevations where the snowpack is capped by a thin surface crust:
We have yet to start seeing cornices begin to fall in earnest, yet it is still wise to give these very large snow features a wide berth along ridgelines and limit your time below them. Cornices typically calve off around now as we move into a springtime snowpack.
Weather conditions yesterday consisted of partly sunny skies, a cool Easterly breeze and warm temperatures out of the wind. Ridgetop winds during the past 24-hours have been blowing steady in the 15-30mph range with gusts over 50mph from a generally East direction. Ridgetop temperatures have been cooling slightly, from ~30F to the mid 20’sF.
For today we are expecting partly cloudy skies with a chance for a trace of snow above 1,500′ and chance for rain below. It will be one of those inbetween storm days with sunny spots here and cloudy spots there. Ridgetop winds are expected to lessen to the 10-15mph range from the East and temperatures should climb a bit, to the upper 20’s to 30F at the ridgetops.
Sunday is likely to be much the same as today. We will still be inbetween major storm systems with a chance for partly sunny to mostly sunny skies.
|Temp Avg (F)
|Snow Depth (in)
|Center Ridge (1880′)
|Summit Lake (1400′)
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)
|Temp Avg (F)
|Wind Avg (mph)
|Wind Gust (mph)
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)
|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
|Schauer/ Moderow/ Clayton Forecaster