The snow is stacking up!
While it’s still early in the snow season, we are experiencing heavy snowfall, and natural avalanches may be possible. Currently we have very little information and data to assess the avalanche conditions. Use extra caution if entering avalanche terrain, and employ extra margins for safety.
Avalanche advisories and avalanche danger ratings are not being issued at this time. HPAC will be starting operations mid-November and will be posting updates periodically until then.
We expect the snow stability to be better in the low (2500′ and below) to mid elevations (2500′-3500′) where the storm came in very warm, allowing new snow to bond well to the old snow and ground surfaces. However, at the upper elevations (3500′ and above), both colder temperatures and significantly more snow will combine to make avalanche conditions potentially dangerous.
20″ of new snow, 3.1″ of SWE, recorded over the last 26 hours at the Independence Mine Snotel site at 3550′. That’s a red flag, with a rapid new load. Temperatures have been warm at 3550′ with heavy, wet to moist snow.
Temperatures at 4500′ and above are cooler, new snow will be lower density, and snow totals could be reaching 30″ or more. That’s an even bigger red flag.
The NWS forecast is calling for another 7-10″ inches tonight and 2-4″ tomorrow.
Now is a great time to go through your avalanche safety gear, ensure every safety tool is operational, and you are practiced and ready to perform companion rescue. Give the snowpack more time to adjust to the new load, and for stability to improve. If heading into the backcountry, start on terrain 25 degrees or less, stay out of the runnout of steeper slopes from above, avoid terrain traps, and make an extra effort to assess the avalanche hazard before stepping into more consequential terrain. The snowpack is guilty until proven innocent.
If you are heading into the backcountry, please share your observations with our community HERE. When posting in social media, please take the time to use the hashtag #hpavy to make your observations and pictures more accessible to our community.
As always, you can reach us at email@example.com with any questions or comments and you can find us on Facebook @hpavalanche and on Instagram @h_p_a_c