Mt Hood

Issued: 8:12 PM PST Friday, March 2, 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. 

You will be able to trigger avalanches in wind-loaded, steep, open slopes at upper elevations. Stay off of open, obvious wind features loaded terrain steeper than 35 degrees. Late-winter sunshine on steep sun exposed slopes may trigger shallow Loose avalanches.

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Avalanche Problems for Saturday

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 Saturday:

You are most likely to trigger Wind Slab avalanches near and above treeline on leeward northwest through north through southeast slopes where drifted wind features exist. These avalanches could be large and destructive. Avoid these avalanches by staying off of recent snow drifts, deeply pillowed features, and fresh cornices on leeward slopes 35 degrees and steeper.

In wind sheltered locations you can find two feet of recent snow on the ground. With fresh snow and sunny skies, you may see some small loose avalanches release on steep slopes, today. It will be difficult to trigger other storm instabilities in the upper snowpack in sheltered terrain, as the layers are gradually healing.

Avalanche Summary:

About 8-10 inches of new snow was deposited by Thursday morning. Strong, mostly SSW winds accompanied Wednesday night's snowfall. This new snow fell on a variety of snow surfaces created during the last several days including crust on sunny aspects, wind featured snow, and unconsolidated surface snow in shaded sheltered areas.

In many locations more than 3’ of snow now sits on a firm buried crust layer (2/17). This crust has been reported up to 6600’ by professionals in the region. There are currently no significant layers of concern below the 2/17 crust.


On Friday, NWAC observer Laura Green reported reported ski cuts and test results in sheltered terrain did not indicate the potential for triggering slab avalanches. She did report cracking and propagation on recently wind loaded slopes.

On Thursday, Mt. Hood Meadows pro-patrol reported small to large slab releases reactive to ski cuts near and below treeline on steep slopes. Explosives above treeline released large to very large hard slab avalanches on many N-E facing terrain. These large slabs had crown faces ranging from 4-6 ft deep and produced significant avalanche debris in the runout zones well below the start zones! 

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.