Today is the last day of zone forecasting for the season, and what a wild ride it's been. We will continue to put out a regional forecast for the Northern, Central, and Southern Mountains each day by 4:30 PM for the following day. Be sure to stay tuned and check the forecast before you head out. There are still plenty of hazards you need to manage in the mountains right now, and solid spring stability is still a ways out.
The pinnacle of this warmup is ramping up today through tomorrow. With temps punching up into the 50s and possibly 60s above 11,000ft, wet avalanches should be at the forefront of your mind. Any lingering loose, soft snow at the surface at higher elevations that haven't baked out already will be the first to shed. Keep an eye on steep rocky faces for rollerballs or minor point releases as indications of decreasing stability. As the warming penetrates further into the snowpack, these small loose wet avalanches could turn into much bigger monsters if they gouge deeper into wet, cohesionless snow.
The other thing to keep in mind is the suspect Persistent Slab structure lingering on high elevation northerly slopes. We continue to find layers of facets sandwiched between crusts or hard slabs around 1 to 2 feet deep. There hasn't been a reported avalanche for over a week on these layers, but things could change during this warmup. Cold, dry snow on these aspects could produce larger wet slabs if water makes its way down to these layers today or tomorrow. Again, something to think about if you're planning on a mission to steeper terrain on this part of the mountain. Finding this layer isn't hard as you only need to dig down a foot or two.
Timing is critical right now. Be sure to get out early, and be prepared to bail off of steeper terrain if you see any indications of wet, unstable snow.