• Backcountry Avalanche Forecast
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  • Observations & Weather Data

Tue, Dec 10, 2019 at 7:26 AM
Issued by: Jason Konigsberg

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

Avoid steep slopes that face a northerly or east direction where there is wind-deposited snow. Any avalanche that you trigger in wind-drifted snow can eventually break at the ground resulting in a large and dangerous avalanche. You can identify where slabs of wind-drifted snow exist by looking for a smooth and pillowy appearance to the snow surface. Slopes that sit near ridgetop, with a cornice above, are likely to have these denser and thicker slabs. Other signs of unstable snow include shooting cracks and sounds of the snowpack collapsing underneath of you.

Although the largest and most dangerous avalanche conditions are on north, northeast and east-facing slopes, don't let your guard down on southerly slopes and also below treeline. Recent winds drifted snow into slabs over crusts on southerly slopes. These avalanche may not break at the ground but they can take you for a rough ride. Also pay attention to open areas below treeline. These places may have thicker slabs that can collapse weaker snow layers near the ground.

 

 

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
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


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.

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 Tue, Dec 10, 2019 at 12:45 PM by Jason Konigsberg Statewide Weather Forecast
  Tuesday Night Wednesday Wednesday Night
Temperature (ºF) 8 to 13 23 to 28 7 to 12
Wind Speed (mph) 12 to 22 7 to 17 10 to 20
Wind Direction W W WNW
Sky Cover Mostly Clear Increasing Overcast
Snow (in) 0 0 0 to 1

Archived Forecasts

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Tue, Dec 10, 2019 at 8:01 AM
Issued by: Matt Huber Statewide Weather Forecast  

Snow kept falling yesterday around the Central Mountains, bringing snow totals to well over a foot in many areas. Winds will have plenty of fresh, low-density snow to load onto leeward slopes, stressing a snowpack that proves to be weak already. As the cold front passed, winds shifted to the northwest and built fresh slabs onto many slopes, including southeast- facing slopes. Although it may not stress the buried melt-freeze crusts and facet combinations that linger deeper in the snowpack on these sunnier aspects, these fresh wind-slabs are likely to be tender. 

The continued snow made for some good riding yesterday but visibility was so poor that we have been unable to verify our forecasts with any real confidence. Although given the weak structure, slabs over persistent weak layers, and the continued reports of a collapsing snowpack and shooting cracks, most CAIC forecasters were confident that triggered avalanches remain likely today. The threat of natural avalanche’s is largely over, but not out of the question. As the skies clear and visibility improves, we will be able to assess how widespread the natural cycle was, if at all.

The threat of remotely triggered avalanches remains constant, with new reports coming in almost daily. Approach steep terrain with the assumption that you can trigger an avalanche without being on the slope, and you won’t be surprised when you do.


  • Left flank looking down path, ran down well into open flat, encompassing small trees in center of photo (full)
  • This video was taken near Fremont Pass in the Sawatch zone on December 5, 2019. We talk about the avalanche danger and how the chance that you can trigger an avalanche goes up as you move above the below treeline elevation band.

See more photos & videos

Five Day Trend

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Avalanche Observations
Report Date # Elevation Aspect Type Trigger SizeR SizeD
View Mon Dec 9 - TL NE SS AS / r R3 D2

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Field Reports
Report Date Observer Snowpack Obs Avalanches Media
View Mon Dec 9 Rich Rogers No Yes (1) Yes (6)
View Mon Dec 9 - No No No

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Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
Brumley Wed Dec 11 1:00 AM 5 - - - - -
Cottonwood Pass Wed Dec 11 1:00 AM 14 52 9 296 16 0.1
Monarch Pass (050e200) Wed Dec 11 2:24 AM 11 83 1 20 6 -
Saint Elmo Wed Dec 11 1:00 AM 10 - - - - -
Leadville Wed Dec 11 2:00 AM 8 69 - - - -
Porphyry Creek Wed Dec 11 1:00 AM 6 - - - - -

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