East Slopes North - Canadian Border to Lake Chelan

Issued: 6:00 PM PST Sunday, December 31, 2017
by Kenny Kramer

While wind slabs and storm slabs will continue to stabilize, recent cool weather may cause this process to take longer than usual. Keep an eye out for signs of recently wind transported snow.

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Avalanche Problems for Monday

Wind Slabi

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Storm Slabi

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Forecast for Monday:

Sunny and mild weather on New Year ’s Day will continue to allow wind and storm slabs to gain strength. Expect colder temperatures and valley clouds to limit warming at lower elevations.

Look for areas of recently wind transported snow such as uneven snow surfaces, fresh cornices and snow drifts. Identify and avoid areas of wind loaded snow. Recent strong winds may have loaded slopes well below ridge crest. Pay attention to exposed terrain features even below tree line 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.

While storm slabs are gaining strength, the amount of recent snow warrants caution before stepping into larger terrain.

Sunshine on Monday may produce small loose wet avalanches on steep sunny slopes especially near rock outcrops. Pay attention to new roller balls as these are a sign that loose wet avalanches could occur.

Despite recent snow, early season conditions still exist. Pay particular attention to open creeks that have not filled in for the season.

Avalanche Summary:

Happy New Year from your friends at the Northwest Avalanche Center.

Cool weather east of the Cascades has slowed the stabilization of wind and storm slabs formed during the recent active weather pattern.

Winds over the past several days formed firm reactive wind slabs on a variety of aspects.

Storm totals from across the area show 1-1.5 feet of snow feel during the series of storms ending Saturday. Layers within the storms snow have been reported from around the area, but trends continue to show these layers slowly gaining strength.

Snow depth decreases substantially the further east of the Cascade crest one travels. In many areas below treeline, there is not enough snow to present an avalanche danger. 



North Cascade Mountain Guides were in the Washington Pass area both Friday and Saturday. By Saturday, cooling and settlement allowed for a favorable stability trend. The sensitive storm slab layers and avalanches seen Friday were  gaining strength and becoming less likely to trigger.


Mission Ridge Pro Patrol reported very sensitive wind slabs observed around the area Saturday. A natural avalanche cycle was observed from Friday night. Avalanche control work within the ski area Saturday produces 1-4 ft wind slab avalanches.

On Friday, a public skier triggered a 16-18” wind slab in closed terrain on a NE aspect at approximately 6000’. The skier was not caught nor injured.


No recent observations

No Corresponding Mountain Weather Forecast Available