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Sat, Apr 30, 2022 at 6:07 AM
Issued by: Ben Pritchett

Saturday

 

Sunday

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.
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

Most slopes will be safe to travel on today. There is still an outside chance you could trigger a slide similar to this surprisingly large and destructive avalanche on Bald Mountain. You could start a deeper slide on high elevation northerly slopes where the snowpack remains highly variable, with thin rocky spots adjacent to deeper slabs resting on dry buried weak layers.

Particularly near the Never Summer Range, which picked up a few inches of fresh snow overnight, look out for small areas of wind-drifted snow below alpine ridgelines and under cornices. Monitor how well the new snow is bonding by using small test slopes to see if you can push the new snow as a tiny loose avalanche. If you find areas of un-supportive wet snow later in the day, move to lower angled terrain.

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On May 1, we will switch to Regional Backcountry Avalanche Forecasts. We will issue a single danger rating and written forecasts for Colorado's Northern Mountains, Central Mountains, and Southern Mountains. We will publish these products every day by 4:30 PM through May.

 

Avalanche Problem

 
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N
S
E
W
NW
NE
SE
SW
Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
Unlikely
Historic
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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.

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.

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 Thu, May 19, 2022 at 5:31 PM by Mike Cooperstein Statewide Weather Forecast
  Saturday Saturday Night Sunday
Temperature (ºF) --- --- ---
Wind Speed (mph) --- --- ---
Wind Direction --- --- ---
Sky Cover Overcast Overcast Overcast
Snow (in) --- --- ---

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

Sat, Apr 30, 2022 at 6:21 AM
Issued by: Ben Pritchett Statewide Weather Forecast  

Yesterday's storm dropped between 1 and 4 inches of snow around the Northern Mountains, not enough to raise the danger. The Never Summer Range fared best, so near that area of the Front Range, the size of Loose Dry or Loose Wet avalanches that you might trigger could be on the higher end of "small." If you travel in high alpine terrain, pay attention to the snow surfaces and don't rule out the possibility of stumbling across a localized pocket of wind-drifted snow. These will be easy to recognize by their stiffer snow texture on easterly-facing slopes, just below ridgelines or cornices. You can easily avoid any danger by just going around the isolated drifted spots.

Although unlikely, it is still possible to trigger an avalanche on deeper weak layers in the snowpack. We know of a small handfull of these over the last month, with the most recent one on April 26 on Mount Baldy, near Breckenridge. This surprise avalanche highlights the consequences if you were to trigger a similar slide. The initial Wind Slab avalanche stepped down to deeply buried weak layers near the ground, sympathetically triggering an adjacent bowl. To manage this problem, you should use care in where you travel on any steep rocky northerly facing terrain for a few days after new loading. Choose slopes with a deeper, more homogenous snowpack, and avoid highly variable parts of the slope with shallow spots interspersed between rocks and slabs of deeper snow. In the higher, colder parts of the Northern Mountains, the snowpack is different from what we have become accustomed to in late April and continues to surprise people.

Most weather stations showed a good freeze overnight, but with high temperatures warming into the upper 30's or low 40s, later today if you feel the snow become wet and gloppy, avoid traveling on steep slopes, especially consequential and sustained slopes with lots of rocks. The danger with this issue could change from slope to slope. 


  • Natural avalanche, North side of Woods Mountain. (full)
  • The first wind slab was triggered from the far left side of the photo, on the skier's right edge of the fracture. The skier's left boundary of the avalanche is not visible in this picture. (full)
  • Oblique angle view. Big slide behind this summit ridge-Bald Mt today. (full)
  • Bald Mountain (full)

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Avalanche Observations
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Field Reports
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Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
Cameron Pass Sun Jul 3 4:00 PM 57 62 1 75 3 1.0
Loveland Pass Sun Jul 3 4:00 PM 45 77 11 230 33 -
Berthoud Pass Sun Jul 3 3:00 PM 58 57 1 93 - -

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