No avalanches observed or reported this week.
|Signal Word||Size (D scale)||Simple Descriptor|
|Small||1||Unlikely to bury a person|
|Large||2||Can bury a person|
|Very Large||3||Can destroy a house|
|Historic||4 & 5||Can destroy part or all of a village|
The avalanche hazard is LOW today for persistent slabs at all elevations and all aspects.
Even though the overall hazard for persistent slab avalanche is rated at Low, it is still worth some discussion.
Low hazard does not mean no hazard, and we expect there to be isolated locations where human triggering a persistent slab may still be possible. Given the poor structure of the snowpack, it’s impossible to completely rule out any possibility of triggering an avalanche.
Unfortunately triggering this type of avalanche is not likely to be small, but should be expected to be large in size, 1-5 feet deep, with an average depth of 1-2 feet. Combine this with a generally shallow snowpack with exposed rocks on almost every slope, means taking a ride in an avalanche has the added hazard of collision with rocks. A smooth ride is one thing, but a serrated ride is quite another.
The best advice we can offer is to prioritize travel protocols and slope choices to minimize the risk. We are being careful in this time to avoid complacency, and to focus on our systematic use of travel protocol, communication, and decision making within our team. Choose slopes with smooth runouts, lacking terrain traps and rocks. Only one person on slope at a time. Use safe zones to reduce the number of people in harms way at a single time. Spot your partners from safe zones, and wait your turn. Double check communications and plans are clearly laid out and understood. Take that extra moment to slow down, don’t rush it. At the trail head, make sure everyone in your party has a beacon, shovel, and probe on them, and are practiced in their use.
Looking towards the future. We don’t see any major storm systems delivering the goods, but when they do, we are preparing our mentality to be extra cautious. We know that our current snowpack is rotten, and that any significant loading event will result in avalanches.
Yesterday we observed 2-3″ of new, low density snow at 3500′.
Possibly a trace of new snow overnight.
Overall the weather has been fairly uneventful in the forecast area this week.
At low elevations temperatures have been hovering in the upper twenties to just breaking 30°F, with a high of 36°F on 1/10. At mid elevation temperatures have been hovering in the 20’s with a high at Independence Mine of 32°F on 1/10. At the upper elevations the temps have been hovering in the upper teens to lower 20’s°F.
Winds at the upper elevations spiked on 1/11-12 and then again on 1/14, however with so little snow available for transport, this has not contributed significantly to avalanche problems.
Marmot Weather Station 1/14-16
Last 24 hours
Independence Mine last 24 hours
NWS Rec Forecast here.
NWS point forecast here.
State Parks Snow Report and Motorized Access information here.