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Olympics

Issued: 7:11 PM PST Sunday, February 4, 2018
by Dennis D'Amico

Slowly lowering freezing levels and light amounts of new snowfall will decrease the avalanche danger Monday in the Hurricane Ridge area. The upper snowpack will begin refreezing Monday, but loose wet avalanches are possible to trigger on steep slopes with wet surface snow, especially in the morning. Avoid slopes where avalanches may carry you into terrain traps.

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  • Low (1)
  • Moderate (2)
  • Considerable (3)
  • High (4)
  • Extreme (5)

Avalanche Problems for Monday

Loose Weti

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Forecast for Monday:

Slowly lowering freezing levels and light amounts of new snowfall will decrease the avalanche danger Monday in the Hurricane Ridge area. The wet upper snowpack will begin refreezing Monday, but loose wet avalanches are possible to trigger on steep slopes with wet surface snow, especially in the morning. Avoid slopes where avalanches may carry you into dangerous terrain such as over a cliff, into a creek, or down a gully. 

Large cornices exists primarily on NW-NE aspects along ridgelines in the Hurricane Ridge area. Recent mild air temperatures and rain have made these massive blocks of snow more likely to fail. Cooling temperatures will make cornice failure less likely, but continue to give cornices a wide berth and avoid travel directly below corniced slopes.

Several glide cracks have been reported recently by NPS rangers. Glide avalanches occur in locations where wet smooth ground surfaces allow the entire snowpack to avalanche. Glide avalanches are highly unpredictable and as their releases generally are not tied to peak warming or rainfall. If you see glide cracks on a slope, avoid traveling on or below that terrain. While you are unlikely to trigger a glide avalanche, a glide avalanche would be large and deadly.

Avalanche Summary:

Light rain was seen Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning along with mild temperatures caused wet surface snow conditions over the weekend. Significant snowpack settlement continues to occur in the Hurricane Ridge area with the recent warm and wet weather. On Friday, several natural wet loose avalanches were observed at all elevations.

Large cornices developed during the last two weeks of January along ridgelines near and above treeline.

The recent warm and wet weather has produced glide cracks on slopes with smooth ground surfaces. Observations indicate glide cracks in common locations such as 20th of June, Steeple, and the Steep-and-Icy avalanche paths.

Observations

NWAC pro-observer Matt Schonwald and NPS Rangers traveled in the Mt Angeles areas Friday. They observed moist to wet surface snow up to 6000 feet. Wet loose avalanches were seen releasing during sunny breaks around mid-day. They identified and avoided traveling near or below large cornices.

No Corresponding Mountain Weather Forecast Available