West Slopes South - South of I-90 to Columbia River
NWAC has finished operations for the winter 2017-2018 Season. Winter operations will resume in November. Please use our Summer Avalanche Statement for general travel advice in the meantime.
NWAC avalanche forecasts apply to backcountry avalanche terrain in the Olympics, Washington Cascades and Mt Hood area. These forecasts do not apply to developed ski areas, avalanche terrain affecting highways and higher terrain on the volcanic peaks above the Cascade crest level.
Summer Avalanche Statement
Although mountain weather and avalanche forecasting operations have ended for the year, avalanches can occur on snow covered mountains during the summer. Accordingly, travelers need specific skills to make decisions about when, where, and how to travel in the mountains.
Camp in places that minimize your exposure to avalanches, seracs, and rock fall.
During periods of cold clear nights and warm sunny days, avalanche danger is lowest in the morning while the snow surface is frozen. As warm temperatures and strong sunshine melt the snow surface avalanche danger will increase creating wet snow avalanche conditions. You can reduce exposure to avalanche hazard by traveling earlier in the day. If you see recent fan shaped avalanche debris, observe new rollerballs, or experience wet surface snow deeper than your ankle you may be able to trigger wet snow avalanches on similar slopes. In addition, consider the consequences of the terrain as you travel. Would an avalanche carry you off a cliff or into a gully? If so, would a different route be safer?
Winter-like weather can impact the mountains at any time of year. This can bring an increase in avalanche danger and a return to ‘winter-like’ avalanche conditions. Under these circumstances, avoid steep open slopes greater than 35 degrees and limit the time you spend in places where avalanches may run and stop. Avalanche danger may remain elevated for a few days following a winter-like storm. As temperatures warm and the sun comes out, natural and human triggered avalanches may occur in the new snow.
Other Summer Hazards:
Glide cracks have formed on steep smooth slopes. Glide avalanches are possible on these slopes, but the exact timing (of the avalanche) is very difficult to predict.
Creeks are opening and snow bridges are weakening. Use extreme caution around and on open creek holes or collapsed snow bridges.
Seracs may collapse at any point and entrain significant snow and ice.
Have a fun and safe summer playing in the mountains!
Please continue to support your avalanche center by posting observations to our public observation page.
NWAC staff will be intermittently available during the summer. You can reach us and leave a message at:
Mail: Northwest Avalanche Center
7600 Sandpoint Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98115
USE AT YOUR OWN RISK
This Backcountry Avalanche Forecast is provided in conjunction with the US Forest Service, and is intended for personal and recreational purposes only. Safe backcountry travel requires preparation and planning, and this information may be used for planning purposes but does not provide all the information necessary for backcountry travel. Advanced avalanche education is strongly encouraged.
The user acknowledges that it is impossible to accurately predict natural events such as avalanches in every instance, and the accuracy or reliability of the data provided here is not guaranteed in any way. This forecast describes general avalanche conditions and local variations will always occur. This forecast expires 24 hours after the posted time unless noted otherwise.