• Backcountry Avalanche Forecast
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Sun, Apr 16, 2017 at 6:19 AM
Issued by: blase reardon

Today

 

Tomorrow

No Rating (-) Watch for signs of instability like recent avalanches, cracking, and audible collapsing. Avoid traveling on or under similar slopes.   No Rating (-) Watch for signs of instability like recent avalanches, cracking, and audible collapsing. Avoid traveling on or under similar slopes.
Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.   Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.   Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
  Danger Scale

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Summary

After clear skies and at least five hours of sub-freezing temperatures last night, you can expect a solid and lasting re-freeze of the surface snow this morning. That means a wide window for safe and straightforward travel before Loose Wet avalanches become a threat. You can stay ahead of this problem by timing your travel to start on easterly slopes and end on westerly slopes. Pay close attention to changing surface conditions through the day. If sidehilling or turns on steep slopes start releasing small sluffs, it's time to make your way to an exit. Dangerous conditions may be developing if stepping off your skis, boots or sled drops you into the snow deeper than the tops of your boots. 

This is our 144th and final zone backcountry avalanche forecast for the 2016-17 season. Starting this afternoon, we will issue statewide avalanche summaries each Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday through the end of May.

We have made impressive strides in our mission of avalanche forecasting and education here in Colorado. Help us continue that trend and donate to the Friends of CAIC fundraising campaign. https://avalanche.state.co.us/donate/.

 

Recent Tweets

@CAIC: Solid freeze->wide window b4 Loose Wet avs a threat. LOW(L1). Thanks 4 all obs & support through winter! Apr 16, 6:22 AM
@CAIC: LOW (L1) It's Spring and it's warm Avoid steep slopes when the sun is on them. Get out of the mountains early. Apr 15, 5:19 AM

Avalanche Problem

 
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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
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E
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NE
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Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
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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
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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 Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 1:00 PM by Nick Barlow Statewide Weather Forecast
  Sunday Night Monday Monday Night
Temperature (ºF) 21 to 26 30 to 35 15 to 20
Wind Speed (mph) 5 to 15 10 to 20 5 to 15
Wind Direction W W WNW
Sky Cover Overcast Overcast Overcast
Snow (in) 3 to 5 2 to 4 0 to 2

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

Sun, Apr 16, 2017 at 7:03 AM
Issued by: blase reardon Statewide Weather Forecast  

Today marks the 144th - and last - Grand Mesa zone backcountry forecast for the 2016-17 winter. Starting this afternoon, we'll publish statewide avalanche summaries each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday through the end of May. We'll continue to issue zone weather forecasts for 11,000 feet twice a day until the end of April.

Thank you to everyone who's contributed observations so far this winter. Special thanks to people who reported unintentionally triggered avalanches and/ or close calls. These are invaluable to other backcountry travelers, and they help us to confirm or fine-tune our forecasts. If you're out and about over the next six weeks, please let us know what you see. It doesn't need to be dramatic or technical; just report some basics information about where you went, what kind of slopes you rode, and what the snow was like. Alerting us to any recent or triggered avalanches can be especially helpful. 

A classic diurnal Springtime snow and avalanche cycle is underway and with no storms in sight, looks to continue for the next week or two. Mostly clear skies and up to eight hours of temperatures below freezing mean a solid, lasting refreeze of the near surface snow this morning. Surface crusts will soften as they receive direct sun and temperatures warm, and Loose Wet avalanches will become a concern by midday. These conditions will develop first on steeper, easterly slopes, then progress to westerly and northerly slopes.

The safest and best riding is when your skis or board sink less than an inch or two into the snow surface. Head for colder, shadier slopes if you're trenching into the snow or your turns are releasing small sluffs. Avoid being on or under very steep, rocky slopes if you see fresh rollerballs or fan-shaped point-releases. If you're punching through surface crusts, dangerous conditions may be developing. These are most likely above about 13000 feet, where recent warming and sun have only affected the near-surface layers of the snowpack and meltwater may be reaching older weak layers for the first time. Saturated snow can produce larger Loose Wet avalanches that gouge into older snow, as well as Wet Slab avalanches. It's easy to avoid these dangers by simply exiting this terrain early, before these conditions develop.

The sustained warming is weakening cornices, and the potential for Cornice Fall avalanches is increasing. All too many avalanche fatalities occur when people ride or walk too far onto a cornice and it collapses, sending them down steep slopes below. Avoid this by staying off of and out from under overhanging drifts. 


  • Rollerballs like these that run naturally from trees are a good sign that conditions are ripe for triggered and natural Loose Wet avalanches. These are 1-2 days old; they tend to occur the first time snow warms enough to get wet. 4/4/16. (full)
  • A small Loose Wet avalanche out of steep and rocky terrain on an easterly slope on April 13th, 2017. (full)

See more photos & videos

Five Day Trend

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Avalanche Observations
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Field Reports
Report Date Observer Snowpack Obs Avalanches Media

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Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
Grand Mesa - Skyway Point Wed Apr 26 4:00 PM 30 66 4 270 13 -
Mesa Lakes Wed Apr 26 2:00 PM 36 - - - - -
Overland Res. Wed Apr 26 2:00 PM 32 - - - - 3.0
Park Reservoir Wed Apr 26 2:00 PM 36 - - - - 1.0

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