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Snoqualmie Pass

Issued: 6:26 PM PST Thursday, February 8, 2018
by Josh Hirshberg

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. 

Avalanches are unlikely today, though not impossible. Use normal caution when traveling in avalanche terrain. Firm snow surface, glide cracks, and difficult travel conditions may pose non-avalanche related hazards.

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Forecast for Friday:

Avalanches are unlikely today, though not impossible. No significant avalanche problems exist. Continue to use normal caution. Always carry a beacon, shovel, and probe and use travel practices that minimize your exposure to avalanche terrain.

That said there are some remaining considerations to stay safe in the mountains. There’s a small chance that you could trigger small Loose Wet avalanches on low elevation, very steep slopes. If you find soft wet snow, use caution above cliffs, rocks, and gullies where a small avalanche could be dangerous. While Glide avalanches are unlikely, they can be dangerously large and difficult to predict. It’s worth giving these avalanches a little more time before we forget about them. Avoid stopping under slopes with steep rock slabs that are still holding snow. Avoid traveling near glide cracks as they can be dangerous if you fall in them. Many snow surfaces may be firm and icy. A slip and fall in steep terrain above rocks or cliffs could be today’s biggest hazard in the mountains.

Avalanche Summary:

No avalanches have been reported on the West Slopes and passes in the past 24 hours. The most recently observed avalanche activity includes small Loose Wet avalanches around the region on Wednesday, shallow triggered Wind Slabs early in the week, and large Glide avalanches running on the 3rd and 4th. While we're still keeping an eye on some deeply buried crusts, there are no known Persistent Weak Layers in this zone.

Freezing levels are anticipated to drop well below passes on Thursday night. Light rain fell to upper elevations on Wednesday and Thursday with freezing levels reaching up to 10,000ft in places. Strong and gusty winds drifted what little snow was available to transport on the highest slopes on Tuesday and Wednesday. Any drifts or slabs that formed were shallow and were soon moistened by rain.

Observations

Snoqualmie Pass

On Wednesday, NWAC forecasters Dallas Glass and Josh Hirshberg visited uncompacted terrain near Alpental. Moist or wet snow extended down to the Jan 5 crust (57" down). The top 4" was recent snow. They witnessed no new avalanches but were able to trigger roller balls in moist snow.

On Tuesday, NWAC Pro Observer Ian Nicholson was on Granite Mountain. The party triggered small Loose Wet avalanches below 4100' on steep, sunny slopes. Above 4100', 5-6" of new snow was bonding very well to a crust. Over the weekend, all of the 3 main slide paths of granite released naturally as large to very large wet slabs or loose wet slides.

South

Observer Ian Nicholson traveled in the backcountry adjacent top Crystal Mountain on Wednesday. Ian reported a few small Loose Wet avalanches on steep sun exposed slopes and no signs of recent wind loading.

No Corresponding Mountain Weather Forecast Available

USE AT YOUR OWN RISK

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.