menu

Olympics

Issued: 6:00 PM PST Tuesday, January 2, 2018
by Dennis D'Amico

Shallow wind slabs may linger in wind exposed terrain above treeline while small loose wet avalanches are possible on steep solar slopes. In some areas, firm surface crusts will make for difficult travel conditions so be prepared to self-arrest and think about the sliding hazard before crossing steeper slopes.  

Danger Scalei
  • No Rating (Info Avail)
  • Low (1)
  • Moderate (2)
  • Considerable (3)
  • High (4)
  • Extreme (5)

Avalanche Problems for Wednesday

Wind Slabi

  • Avalanche Problemi
  • Aspect/Elevationi
  • Likelihoodi
  • Sizei
 

Loose Weti

  • Avalanche Problemi
  • Aspect/Elevationi
  • Likelihoodi
  • Sizei
 

Forecast for Wednesday:

After a cloudy start, partly to mostly sunny skies are expected Wednesday afternoon with continued mild temperatures. 

Lingering wind slabs should be far less sensitive to triggering on Wednesday and confined to higher terrain. Continue to watch for areas of recently wind transported snow such as fresh cornices, snow drifts, and uneven snow surfaces. Identify and avoid locations where recent wind loading occurred.

Wind slabs can be deceptively difficult to manage in the terrain. Take a moment and read our recent blog post by NWAC Pro Observer Jeremy Allyn on wind slabs.

Small loose wet avalanches are possible on steep solar slopes in areas that experience warm temperatures and afternoon sunshine on Wednesday. Be aware of the consequence of even a small loose wet avalanche around terrain traps.  

In some areas, firm surface crusts will make for difficult travel conditions so be prepared to self-arrest and think about the sliding hazard before crossing steep slopes.  

Despite all this new snow, early season hazards still exist. Many creek beds have still not filled in for the winter.

Avalanche Summary:

Mild weather seen Sunday through Tuesday has allowed lingering wind slabs to gain strength.

SW winds Friday night redistributed new snow forming shallow wind slabs on lee slopes at higher elevations. This resulted in a variety of snow surfaces including soft unconsolidated snow, wind scoured slopes, rain crust, and firm wind slabs.

The 12/16 mid-December crust can still be found 2-3 feet down within the snowpack.

Observations

NWAC pro observer, Matt Schonwald visited Hurricane Ridge on Friday, 12/29 and stressed that this is a different snowpack than the Cascades! He visited W-NW-N-NE aspects and found the 12/16 crust and 1-2 mm facets down 2.5 feet. Several PST tests failures, self-arrested, but propagated through most of the column along the 12/16 layer. This PWL will mostly likely be found below ridgelines and will have to be watched moving forward. 

No Corresponding Mountain Weather Forecast Available
This information is provided by the U.S.D.A. Forest Service and describes general backcountry avalanche hazard and conditions. It does not apply to ski areas and highways where avalanche mitigation is conducted. Read more here.