Despite our generally stable conditions, it is still important to look for signs of instability as the mountains can surprise us at times. Periods of localized ridgetop winds over the last two days have transported some surface snow. Finding an isolated wind slab is not out of the question. The last avalanche triggered was over a week ago and cold temperatures have been helping the snowpack adjust. Observations and snowpack tests have been pointing towards a stabilizing snowpack.
Low danger does not mean no danger. Practice good travel habits, such as exposing one person at a time, watching your partners and grouping up in safe zones are key ways to minimize risk. Ease into steep terrain and factor in the consequences should you encounter one of the following:
Glide cracks and wind textured snow on the SW face of Tincan Proper. Photo taken yesterday 1/9/18 compliments of Allen D. and Eric R. Glide cracks are present in a lot of popular terrain and can be hard to see until you’re suddenly near one.
South of Turnagain – Lynx Creek/Johnson Pass/Summit Lake zone: A poor snowpack structure exists in these areas. The buried surface hoar that we have been talking about over the past week has been found as well as facet/crust combinations in the bottom of the snowpack. The last avalanche cycle was over a week ago during the New Year’s storm, and overloaded a variety of these weak layers in Summit Lake. Cold weather this weak has been helping stability around the area, but steep slopes without debris below remain suspect. If you’re headed this way, the snowpack becomes more complex – evaluate terrain exposure and the snowpack as you travel.
Yesterday: Skies were partly cloudy becoming overcast in the afternoon with a period of light snow showers. A trace of snow was observed. Temperatures were in the teens F in the upper elevations and dropped into the single digits overnight. Valley bottom temps increased from single digits F to teens throughout the day. Ridgetop winds were light 5-15 mph from the NW with a few hours in the 10-20mph range.
Today: Expect clear skies and single digit temperatures in the upper elevations with slightly warmer valley temps. Temperatures in the alpine are expected to drop into the negative digits by this evening. Ridgetop winds should remain light from the NW winds. No precipitation is expected.
Tomorrow: Clear skies and single digit temperatures will continue through tomorrow before a weather pattern shift on Friday night. A series of fronts associated with a low-pressure system moves into the Gulf of Alaska bringing warm, windy and wet conditions by Sunday. This is our next chance for snow with rain expected near coastal areas.
*Seattle Ridge weather station was heavily rimed and the anemometer (wind sensor) was destroyed. We are currently working to replace it.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||15||0||0||54|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||6||0||0||20|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||10||trace||0||42|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||13||*N/A||*N/A||*N/A|