• Backcountry Avalanche Forecast
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Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 6:58 AM
Issued by: Scott Toepfer

Today

 

Tomorrow

Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.   Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.
Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.   Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.   Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
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Summary

Thursday nights storm brought colder temperatures, some 4 to 9 inches of new snow, and moderate northerly winds. The colder temperatures eliminate the wet avalanche problem from the above treeline elevation band, replaced by fresh, though possible, small, Wind Slab avalanches.

Problem two for Friday is the threat for some small Wet Loose avalanches near and below treeline as an intense March sun returns. Riders could find these Loose Wet avalanches above treeline in extreme terrain around rocky cliff features too, but the primary threat to riders from these will be in the near and below treeline elevation band. Even though temperatures are not forecast to get all that warm, the March sun will have a rapid impact on the new snow. We expect the new snow to easily sheet of old snow surfaces. In general these will be small, and managed easily, unless terrain traps become involved in the outcome.

The Friends of CAIC have launched their spring fundraising campaign in an effort to raise $50,000 to support avalanche forecasting and education in Colorado. Every dollar counts. Donate today and support your avalanche center! https://avalanche.state.co.us/donate/

 

Recent Tweets

@CAIC: MOD (L2) New snow & moderate to strong N wind built Wind Slab avalanches ATL for Friday. Small WLa continue Mar 24, 7:17 AM
@CAIC: MOD (L2) today. New snow and increasing winds bring transition from spring to winter avalanche worries today. Mar 23, 7:23 AM

Avalanche Problem

 
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N
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Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
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Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Wind Slab avalanches release naturally during wind events and can be triggered for up to a week after a wind event. They form in lee and cross-loaded terrain features. Avoid them by sticking to wind sheltered or wind scoured areas.

Avalanche Problem

 
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N
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NE
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Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
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Historic
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Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Loose Wet avalanches occur when water is running through the snowpack, and release at or below the trigger point. Avoid very steep slopes and 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.

Avalanche Problem

 
problem icon
N
S
E
W
NW
NE
SE
SW
Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
Unlikely
Historic
Very Large
Large
Small
Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Persistent Slab avalanches can be triggered days to weeks after the last storm. They often propagate across and beyond terrain features that would otherwise confine Wind and Storm Slab avalanches. In some cases they can be triggered remotely, from low-angle terrain or adjacent slopes. Give yourself a wide safety buffer to address the uncertainty.

Weather Forecast for 11,000ft Issued Sat, Mar 25, 2017 at 4:27 AM by Mike Cooperstein Statewide Weather Forecast
  Friday Friday Night Saturday
Temperature (ºF) 35 to 40 20 to 25 30 to 35
Wind Speed (mph) 5 to 15 5 to 15 5 to 15
Wind Direction SW W NW
Sky Cover Increasing Overcast Mostly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 1 to 3 0 to 1

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 8:08 AM
Issued by: Scott Toepfer Statewide Weather Forecast  

New snow across the zone Thursday night will bring a fresh outlook to the backcountry. With some 4 to 9" of new snow, and moderate winds that shifted from southwest to north during the storm's life, Wind Slab avalanches are back in our play book. Primarily these wind slabs have formed above treeline, but they do have enough mass to run into the near treeline elevation band. Some isolated Wind slab avalanches could be found near treeline along wind exposed ridges as well. It's hard to rule that potential out completely in areas that are very exposed to wind. Wind speeds are forecast to ease today, at least at 11,000 feet. It will most likely be a different story above 13,000 feet or so today as the low-pressure center moves east.

Another possible problem is expected to be Loose Wet avalanches sheeting off steep terrain as an intense March sun will quickly impact the new snow. Old snow surfaces had a chance to freeze up before the storm arrived Thursday night. This will make it harder for the new snow to adhere once that sun comes up and starts to heat up nearby rock bands as well as the new snow. We don't expect these to be large, but depending on terrain, they could become serious.


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Five Day Trend

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Avalanche Observations
Report Date # Elevation Aspect Type Trigger SizeR SizeD
View Thu Mar 23 - TL All WL N - D1
View Wed Mar 22 - U NE U N - D2
View Wed Mar 22 - <TL NE WL N R1 D1

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Field Reports
Report Date Observer Snowpack Obs Avalanches Media
View Thu Mar 23 Zach Guy No Yes (1) Yes (2)
View Wed Mar 22 Zach Guy No Yes (1) No
View Wed Mar 22 Zach Guy No Yes (1) Yes (3)

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Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
Butte Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 27 - - - - -
Elkton Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 21 94 6 172 12 -
Park Cone Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 21 - - - - 1.0
Taylor Park Sat Mar 25 4:57 AM 17 91 2 164 4 -

See All Weather Observations