A couple sunny days are in the forecast and we are generally back into a springtime avalanche regime. Meaning, low hazard in the morning (frozen snow surface) transitioning to a moderate hazard in the afternoon on solar aspects (melting snow surface). Wet loose sluffs should be easy to trigger once sunny slopes warm enough to melt the top 2-3″ of frozen snow. If the surface becomes even more sloppy (6″ or more of wet/mushy snow) then sluffs could become larger and more dangerous, especially in larger terrain. Paying attention to surface warming/melting will be key for the next several days.
Other springtime concerns are cornice falls. Cornices heat up and can destabilize rapidly during daytime warming; making them easier to trigger.
Cornice along the Sunburst ridge yesterday.
In the dry snow that sits on shaded aspects generally above 3,000′, even over 3,500′ in places, a questionable weak layer exists 1-2′ below the surface. The layer is composed of facets and buried surface hoar and was found at 3,300′ on Tincan. It is suspect to be lurking on other high elevation northerly slopes. We had a good look around yesterday and did not see signs of natural avalanches breaking in the layer during last Thursday’s storm, which is good news, but we still need to tread cautiously. Listening for whumpfing and digging a test pit to look for and test the layer are good ways to gather information. Sticking to safe travel protocol is also wise; exposing one person a time, watching our partners and having escape routes planned.
Taylor Pass and Basketball Chute on the right. Many higher elevation northerly aspects remain intact. The only evidence of avalanche activity from Thursday’s storm were old wind slabs; no signs of avalanches breaking in deeper weak layers.
A few glide cracks that were filled with new snow on Thursday are slowly opening up again. This tells us some movement is still taking place. A chance remains that a crack could release into an avalanche. It has been a week since the last known glide released (Hope Wye area south of Turnagain). Being suspect of cracks and limiting/avoiding time spend under them is always a good idea as they can avalanche at any time.
Seattle Ridge with the up-track on the looker’s right of photo. After many glide avalanches turned this ridge brown, new snow has brightened it up a bit. It has been over a week now since any glide avalanches have occurred on this slope – that doesn’t mean one can’t occur today however.
Yesterday: Partly cloudy skies were over the region as high pressure slowly built in. Ridgetop winds have been light over the past 24-hours, blowing 5-10mph from the east. Temperatures climbed to 30F at 4,000′ and to 40F at 2,000′. Clear skies have allowed overnight temperatures to cool to the upper 20’sF below 2,500′.
Today: Mostly sunny skies with light and variable winds are expected. Temperatures should climb to 32F, or higher, at 4,000′ and to the mid 40’sF at 2,000′.
Tomorrow: Monday we can expect another sunny day that could be slightly warmer than Sunday. Winds should remain light with an easterly push (~5mph). One more clear sky day for Tuesday before clouds and a chance for precipitation heads our way Wed/Thurs.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||34||0||0||64|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||32||0||0||18|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||34||0||0||58|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||31||SE||4||10|