Monthly Archives: December 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

This advisory expires in 24 hours

BOTTOM LINE:

Natural and human triggered avalanches unlikely except possible in isolated wind loaded pockets on steep, north and west, upper elevation ridgelines.

Generally stable avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Small avalanches may be possible in isolated areas or extreme terrain. Again look forĀ possibilitiesĀ in upper elevation, wind loaded, steep areas, mostly near ridgelines.

DISCUSSION:

With the thick snowpack, deep basal layer concerns are subdued. Shallower weak layers exist in the forms of crusts with facet sandwiches in thinner scoured areas. There is also a layer within the wind loaded snow that has shown minimal results in stability tests. These layers have not been active and are relatively benign. Overall the snowpack is somewhat boaring for the avalanche investigator which is good news for riders.

Conditions are a firm, smooth base with ankle to knee deep powder. Most of these wind layers that have formed the supportable base are strong and bridging forces well. In some locations where the snowpack is thinner, rockier and previously scoured, you may be able to trigger a small slab that could take you for a ride. So be aware on upper elevation ridgelines near rocks, cliffs and gully terrain traps where even a short ride could hurt.

If you get lucky and find a burst of sunshine to light your way in between the stormy, foggy white outs, you may just have a spiritual moment. photo

If you have been out and about, please share your observations, jedworkman@hatcherpassavalanchecenter.org

–Jed Workman