Numerous small human triggered dry loose avalanches (sluffs) occurred this week on all aspects on slopes 40º and steeper.
Above: Marmot 3800′ SW 11/19
Above: Ridge btw Skyscraper and Martin Mine 4000′ E 11/19
|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|
Small, loose dry avalanches (sluffs) will be possible to human trigger today at mid and upper elevations on all aspects, on slopes steeper than 40º. Natural avalanches are unlikely. Sluffs will be small in size but very capable of catching and carrying you into other unfriendly hazards such as rocks, and terrain traps, compounding the risk.
Above: 11/19 Video from Martin Mine, East aspect, approximately 4000′ in elevation. A quick hand pit shows weak snow throughout the snowpack, lacking any flaws or layers of concern.
Sluffs have been moving faster and catching seasoned backcountry enthusiasts off guard the last few days as cold weather continues to facet out the snowpack.
The good news is that sluffs are a manageable avalanche problem, however, managing them takes skill. Ski cutting this avalanche problem can be very effective.
Snowpack depth is still variable at Hatcher Pass ranging from 1 to 3 feet deep. Early season hazards still exist with buried rocks and tundra.
Be on the lookout for winds that are forecasted to increase Saturday evening NE 20-30 mph. There is some uncertainty with this forecast. Any wind, even for a short duration will easily transport low density snow and build sensitive wind slabs on leeward aspects (South to West). If winds increase tonight , expect the avalanche danger to rise.