• Backcountry Avalanche Forecast
  • Forecast Discussion
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Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 7:11 AM
Issued by: Jeff Davis

Today

 

Tomorrow

Considerable (3) Dangerous avalanche conditions. Cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential.   Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.
Considerable (3) Dangerous avalanche conditions. Cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential.   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.
  Danger Scale

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Summary

Winter has returned to the North San Juan zone, but with winters re-arrival we are once again dealing with dangerous avalanche conditions. Snow totals thus far are in the double digits for most of the forecast area. Red Mountain Pass and the Telluride area are the big winners with over 18 inches as of 5am. Strong winds accompanied the new snow. Winds started out of the south, but shifted to the north as the storm cell passed. The forecast calls for lingering snow showers this morning, but clearing by mid-day. 

Today, you can trigger a Storm Slab avalanche on all steep slopes where you find 8 inches or more of new or wind-drifted snow. With the shift in wind during the storm this issue will be widespread. It is hard to know how well the new snow is bonding, but with reports of natural avalanche activity around Red Mountain Pass this morning, expect touchy conditions near and above treeline. If skies clear this afternoon watch for Loose avalanches on sunny slopes as the new snow warms. 

I know we are all jonesing for powder, but take a conservative approach today. Conditions have change dramatically over the past 24 hours. 

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: CON(L3)Snow and strong winds have increased avalanche danger on all slopes. Avoid steep slopes with 8" or more Mar 24, 8:00 AM
@CAIC: MOD(L2) Transition day. Cold temps easing Wet activity, but snow and wind bringing back winter-like conditions Mar 23, 7:28 AM

Avalanche Problem

 
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What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Storm Slab avalanches release naturally during snow storms and can be triggered for a few days after a storm. They often release at or below the trigger point. They exist throughout the terrain. Avoid them by waiting for the storm snow to stabilize.

Avalanche Problem

 
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What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Wet Slab avalanches occur when there is liquid water in the snowpack, and can release during the first few days of a warming period. Travel early in the day and avoid avalanche terrain when you see pinwheels, roller balls, loose wet avalanches, or during rain-on-snow events.

Avalanche Problem

 
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Above Treeline
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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.

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 15 to 20 30 to 35
Wind Speed (mph) 5 to 15 5 to 15 5 to 15
Wind Direction SSW SW NW
Sky Cover Increasing Overcast Mostly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 to 1 PM 1 to 3 0 to 1

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 7:45 AM
Issued by: Jeff Davis Statewide Weather Forecast  

New snow and strong winds have increased avalanche danger on all slopes. Snow totals as of 5am; Red Mountain pass 18"; Telluride-20" (updated by Ski Patrol at 7am);  Lizard Head-12"; Molas-9"; Coal Bank-8". 

The new and wind-drifted snow fell on an array of crusts near and above treeline and a soft melted surface below treeline. With reports of natural avalanche activity already this morning expect that the new snow is not bonding well to the preexisting surface. Avalanches will be easily triggered on steep loaded slopes and will quickly gain mass as they move downhill. Since the winds shifted during the storm. It is hard to pin down the distribution of the new snow at this point. Approach all steep slopes with caution. Most avalanches triggered will be large enough to injure or bury you.

Since temperatures dropped below freezing, especially above 9,000 feet, the preexisting surface has refrozen. Though observers are still finding wet and isothermal snow deeper in the pack it is unlikely that we will see avalanches step down below the new load.


  • There is still lingering moisture in the snowpack. Lower layers are still wet and lubricated. This pit is on an E slope at tree line. (full)

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Five Day Trend

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Today

Tomorrow

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Avalanche Observations
Report Date # Elevation Aspect Type Trigger SizeR SizeD
View Fri Mar 24 - >TL NW L N - D2
View Thu Mar 23 - TL NE WL N - D1
View Thu Mar 23 - >TL SW SS N R2 D1.5
View Thu Mar 23 - >TL NE L N R1 D1

See All Avalanche Observations

Field Reports
Report Date Observer Snowpack Obs Avalanches Media
View Fri Mar 24 Ann Mellick Susan Hale Yes (2) Yes (1) No
View Fri Mar 24 Jeff Davis No No Yes (2)
View Fri Mar 24 Josh Hirshberg Yes (2) Yes (2) No
View Thu Mar 23 Jeff Dobronyi No Yes (1) No
View Thu Mar 23 John Karl Welter No No Yes (1)
View Thu Mar 23 Josh Hirshberg Yes (2) No No
View Wed Mar 22 Josh Hirshberg Yes (1) No Yes (1)

See All Field Reports

Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
Beartown Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 24 - - - - -
Kendall Mt Sat Mar 25 5:00 AM 25 10 12 190 17 -
Molas Pass Sat Mar 25 5:00 AM 21 43 1 248 4 -
Putney Sat Mar 25 5:00 AM 28 9 10 211 16 -
Swamp Angel Sat Mar 25 5:00 AM 15 78 3 261 6 -
El Diente Peak Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 20 - - - - -
Lizard Head Pass Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 16 - - - - -
Lone Cone Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 24 - - - - -
Moon Pass Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 27 - - - - -
Slumgullion Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 28 - - - - -

See All Weather Observations