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