Mt Hood

Issued: 6:00 PM PST Friday, February 2, 2018
by Dallas Glass

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. 

Large and destructive Wet Slab avalanches may occur above treeline. Avoid traveling on or below avalanche terrain originating at higher elevations. Avalanches may travel into lower elevation bands and reach valley bottoms. Stay off avalanche terrain where being caught in even a small Loose Wet avalanches could have dire consequences such as above cliffs, open creeks, or gullies.

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Avalanche Problems for Saturday

Wet Slabsi

Wet slabs occur when there is liquid water in the snowpack, and can release during the first few days of a warming period. Travel early in the day and avoiding avalanche paths when you see pinwheels, roller balls, loose wet avalanches, and during rain-on-snow events.

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Loose Weti

Loose wet avalanches occur where water is running through the snowpack, and release at or below the trigger point. Avoid terrain traps such as cliffs, gullies, or tree wells. Exit avalanche terrain when you see pinwheels, roller balls, a slushy surface, or during rain-on-snow events.

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Forecast for Saturday:

Continued warm and wet weather will maintain avalanche hazard in the Mt Hood area Saturday.

Above treeline areas will receive rain for the first time since early January. Rain falling on deep dry wind slabs may produce large and destructive slab avalanches. Wet Slabs are extremely difficult to predict. However, if they release they will entrain significant amounts of snow and travel into lower elevation bands. Avoid steep open slopes above treeline and limit your exposure to avalanche paths that originate at higher elevations.

Near and below treeline, rain on wet snow will maintain the possibility for Loose Wet avalanches. These avalanches are most likely during and following higher intensity rain showers. Avoid steep open slopes above terrain that could magnify the consequences of an avalanche. Cliffs, open creeks, rocks, and gullies are all examples of terrain traps where small avalanches may injure or kill you.

Avalanche Summary:

Warm wet weather has created wet surface snow conditions well into near treeline terrain in the Mt Hood area. At elevations receiving snow, SW winds continued to build wind slabs on lee slopes.

The upper snowpack consist of a mix of wet snow, old crust, and well consolidated storm snow. Observations demonstrate a strong and well bonded upper snowpack.


On Thursday, NWAC pro-observer Laura Green traveled in Newton and Heather Canyons. She found light rain beginning to wet the snow surface by mid-afternoon. Winds were increasing throughout the day.

On Wednesday, Mt Hood Meadows Pro Patrol reported the surface snow was sculpted by recent winds creating variable snow surfaces and scoured ridgelines. Below treeline, 6-8" of snow was well bonded to the 1/29 semi-supportable crust.

Mt Hood Meadows Pro Patrol Sunday reported multiple very large artillery-released avalanches with crowns up to 12 ft range, running on steep NE and ENE terrain above treeline and travelling very long distances, in one case snapping 20+ year old trees.

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.