Happy Thanksgiving from the CNFAIC crew! Due to the continued lack of significant snow on the ground and no large storms headed our way, we will be posting our next update on Saturday, November 25th. If you do venture out into the backcountry, the snowpack in the advisory area is still very thin. The couple of inches of snow that fell on Sunday will get blown around today by the NW winds that are forecasted to be 15-30 mph with gusts into the 40s. This may form shallow winds slabs on leeward slopes. These and pockets of old wind slab have the potential to release especially in steep unsupported terrain. Even a small avalanche could be very dangerous if it drags you through the rocks. Crow Pass is an area to be on the lookout for these wind slabs. Pay attention to cracking snow and hollow sounds indicating wind slab. We have been tracking snow depth and surface conditions in anticipation of a storm… eventually coming our way. Check out the full observation from Monday on Tincan. Winds are forecasted to diminish this afternoon and there is a slight chance of a few flakes of snow to fall tomorrow. A cold and clear pattern returns Friday and looks to continue into the weekend. There is hope for an overall pattern change next week but there is still quite a bit of uncertainty in how that will play out. Time to get your friends and family to do a Low Pressure dance around the Thanksgiving table. Remember that is counterclockwise! Have a safe and happy holiday!
Snowpack at 2800′ on Tincan
Looking towards Hippy Bowl on Tincan and wind drifting along the Common uptrack.
Thin snow on Magnum
Very thin descending the lower slopes of Tincan.
Remember if you do head out there are early season hazards:
Rocks, alders, crevasses and avalanches. Enough snow to ride? Enough snow to slide…
Little snow. Keep it simple. Red flags present??
What to clue into:
1) Rapid changes in weather? This includes recent or current snowfall, wind, rain on snow and warm temperatures after a storm. One layer of snow can be a slab!
2) Recent avalanches in the past 1 or 2 days?
3) Cracking, collapsing, whumpfing?
4) What are the consequences if the slope does slide? Will you go off a cliff? Into a crevasse? Over the rocks? Are there other terrain traps?
It is with very heavy hearts that we pass along the news of an avalanche fatality at Hatcher Pass on Wednesday, November 22nd. Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center is gathering information currently and going to the scene on Thanksgiving Day for an avalanche investigation. You can keep up to date at their website hpavalanche.org and their Facebook page HERE. Our deepest condolences go out to the victim’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.
Hatcher Pass avalanche conditions: If you are headed to Hatcher Pass this holiday weekend, please check their forecast at hpavalanche.org for avalanche information.
AVALANCHE EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIPS
The Friends of the CNFAIC have two scholarships dedicated to avalanche education for skiers, snowmachiners and all user groups. The funds generated to make these possible are in celebration of Rob Hammel and Amy Downing, their love and passion for the mountains, and to help others stay safe. We encourage you to read each one and apply yourself if you fit the need, or pass along to someone who could benefit. Applications due on Dec 15th.
Rob Hammel Scholarship Fund – For recreational users and professional avalanche workers.
Amy Downing Scholarship Fund – For women recreational users.