Mt Hood

Issued: 6:20 PM PST Saturday, December 30, 2017
by Kenny Kramer

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.

Look for signs of recently wind transported snow such as snow drifts, fresh cornices, and uneven snow surfaces. Identify and avoid stiff wind loaded snow on lee and cross loaded slopes.

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Avalanche Problems for Sunday

Wind Slabi

Wind slabs can take up to a week to stabilize. They are confined to lee and cross-loaded terrain features and can be avoided by sticking to sheltered or wind scoured areas.

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Forecast for Sunday:

Clearing skies, warming temperatures, and decreasing winds Sunday should allow the snowpack time to gain strength.

Wind slabs will continue to be a problem into Sunday especially at higher elevations. Look for signs of recently wind transported snow. Identify and avoid wind loaded terrain below ridgelines and cross loaded terrain features. While we expect wind slabs to primarily exist above treeline, keep a watchful eye out for exposed terrain features near treeline where wind slabs may have formed.

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.

Avalanche Summary:

Saturday afternoon brought to an end a very active and wet weather pattern at Mt Hood.

Moderate to strong winds have continued to redistribute new snow at higher elevations forming wind slabs on ridgeline and cross loaded features. Variable snow surface conditions exist including wind stripped snow and firm wind slabs.

At lower elevations recent rain has created firm melt freeze crust capped with a few inches of snow.

A variety of rain and freezing rain crust exist in the upper snowpack depending on elevation. Current observations do not suggest these layers to be reactive.


Saturday a report of a large natural avalanche in Clark Canyon was received. Visibility limited the extent of the observation.

On Friday, NWAC Pro Observer Laura Green was in Sand and Heather Canyons. In terrain from 4850-6600 feet elevation, she found moderate to hard tests with progressive collapse at crusts at crusts down 5 and 10 inches. She noted that the Hood snowpack absorbed the water "like a thirsty sponge." 

On Friday morning, Mt. Hood Meadows pro patrol reported the freezing rain crust to have been melted by the rainfall at 5200 feet, where where boot penetration was 18”. The upper snowpack was moist, not wet. Standing water was observed at 6500 feet with no avalanches. 

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.