Groundhog Day in the Southern Mountains. We continue to see very little change in avalanche danger and conditions day to day. Many slopes will have a firm refrozen surface this morning, but it will not take long for these slopes to heat up and wet avalanche hazard to rise. Warm temperatures and the strong spring sun are the main contributors to the snow surface losing structure and becoming unsupportable. With lighter winds in the forecast slopes will warm faster than they have in previous days. Though generally safe avalanche conditions persist, continue to watch for wet avalanche activity as the day progresses and avoid slopes that have been baking in the sun for multiple hours. Monitor the surface snow conditions carefully. Small Loose Wet avalanches can entrain enough heavy snow to knock you off your feet. If the snow loses cohesion and you sink deeper than about eight inches larger more dangerous avalanches are becoming possible. If you encounter these conditions, you should find a cooler aspect to recreate on or simply call it a day.
Timing becomes very important in your trip planning in the Spring. You can easily avoid the avalanche danger by avoiding the sun. Start on easterly-facing slopes and make your way west as the sun climbs higher and starts its trip across the sky. Think about your afternoon exit route. If you plan to be in the mountains later in the day, remember that west-facing aspects have sun on them until 6:00 pm and avalanche danger is greatest later in the day. Northerly aspects that are breaking down for the first time are most suspect to larger Loose Wet avalanches..