Issued: 6:55 PM PST Tuesday, March 20, 2018
by Robert Hahn

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.

Low danger does not mean no danger. Continue to use normal safe travel practices. Reduce your exposure to slopes with cornice hazard overhead and plan for variable snow surfaces including crusts or ice.

Danger Scalei
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Forecast for Wednesday:

Generally safe avalanche conditions exist. Increasing cloud cover and mild temperatures will be the story on Wednesday.

The snow surface should have a firm crust by Wednesday morning on non-polar aspects. Since Friday, 6.5" of snow has fallen and overlies another strong and supportable crust. The crust may weaken during the afternoon hours, but little to no avalanche activity is expected and loose wet avalanches are not likely to be a significant concern on Tuesday.

Polar aspects should have mostly dry snow with some thin, unsupportable crusts present. Be aware of the potential for shallow loose dry snow movement on steeper terrain.

Although no specific problems are highlighted in the forecast continue to make your own evaluation of the snow and make your terrain selections accordingly. Cornices are an ongoing hazard in the terrain and if one fails it will entrain up to 6" or more of lower density snow on shaded aspects. Additionally, expect the potential for variable snow surfaces including firm crusts, breakable crusts, and various states of shallow powder.

Avalanche Summary:

Several days of sunny, spring-like weather should have created a crust on non-polar aspects.

About 2 inches of new snow was reported Monday morning by NPS rangers and sits on a strong crust formed after 4.5" of snow fell late Friday on another strong and supportable crust.

On shaded slopes, a thinner melt-freeze crust formed last weekend. This crust is likely semi-supportable and may be covered by 4-6” of soft snow in some places. Soft snow will be most prevalent on shaded slopes at higher elevations.

Several layers exist within the snowpack. Currently we do not have any information suggesting that any of these layers are a potential problem.


NPS Rangers, reported 2" of new snow over a strong crust Monday morning.

NPS Rangers, reported 4.5" of new low density snow with no wind effects over the very strong crust Sunday morning.

NPS Rangers, reported a firm and very supportable surface crust Saturday morning.

NPS Rangers found a well settled snowpack on NE aspects around 5500' Thursday 3/15.  They did not identify any layers of concern in the upper snowpack. No new or recent avalanches were observed. 

No Corresponding Mountain Weather Forecast Available


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.