• Backcountry Avalanche Forecast
  • Forecast Discussion
  • Observations & Weather Data

Wed, Apr 1, 2020 at 6:51 AM
Issued by: Matt Huber

Today

 

Tomorrow

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.   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.
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Summary

You are most likely to trigger an avalanche on steep, wind-drifted slopes near and above treeline, that face north through east and southeast. Winds drifted recent snow into dense slabs on top of weak layers that formed in mid-March on these slopes. Carefully evaluate steep, wind-loaded slopes before committing to them. Very large cornices overhang many of these slopes above treeline, stay well back from the edges as you approach ridgelines, and minimize riding on slopes below them.

With a marginal freeze overnight and warm temperatures expected again today, expect loose wet avalanche activity to increase through the day. Wet avalanche concerns begin to creep into shadier aspects below treeline and even in to sunny slopes above treeline, especially near rock outcrops and cliffs that warm quickly. Plan ahead to be clear of these slopes before they warm, and the snow feels wet and punchy.

 

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If you are recreating, please do so responsibly. This includes following social distancing requirements, not taking actions that risk pulling emergency service workers away from the important work they’re doing, or compromising their ability to continue that work. Learn more about the CAIC’s work during the pandemic here.

Governor Polis issued a Statewide Stay-at-Home order on March 25, 2020 - Learn more here

Many of Colorado’s counties have issued public health orders that affect travel and recreation. You can start your search for local information here. Here is some information for this zone: Pitkin County Gunnison County, and Garfield County.  

 

 

 

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


Loose Wet avalanches occur when water is running through the snowpack, and release at or below the trigger point. Avoid very steep slopes and terrain traps such as cliffs, gullies, or tree wells. Exit avalanche terrain when you see pinwheels, roller balls, a slushy surface, or during rain-on-snow events.

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 Wed, Apr 1, 2020 at 4:43 AM by Mike Cooperstein Statewide Weather Forecast
  Wednesday Wednesday Night Thursday
Temperature (ºF) 37 to 42 25 to 30 29 to 34
Wind Speed (mph) 11 to 21 9 to 19 16 to 26
Wind Direction WSW SW SW
Sky Cover Partly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 0 2 to 4

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

Wed, Apr 1, 2020 at 7:18 AM
Issued by: Ben Pritchett Statewide Weather Forecast  

The spring transition has restarted after a brief hiatus. With another warm day on tap Wednesday, which will be several degrees warmer than Tuesday, the wetting and the snow surface water factory will kick into production even earlier. Easterly-facing slopes with rocks showing may begin to shed loose avalanches by mid-morning. Track the sun around the compass and this same type of avalanche activity will spread to many slopes as the day goes on. Only northwest to north to northeast facing slopes near and above treeline will stay dry.

Cornices remain a significant concern, especially where they are rooted in shallow, rapidly warming snow. Many of these large cornices that grew in size last week face northeast to east to southeast. Their roots (the base of the cornice opposite the overhanging face) will bake in the mid-day sun, growing weaker as the day goes on. Some may fall naturally, but if you walk above them you could trigger a large cornice collapse, which might break much further back than you expect. Give cornices the respect they deserve, increasing the amount of space between you and them.

Last week's avalanche cycle that was triggered by large cornice chunks falling on steep unsupported slopes is still quite relevant. You might have a hard time triggering weak layers near the ground with just your body weight, but a cornice fall could be large enough to initiate a big, dangerous avalanche. An avalanche in motion could provide that trigger too. A spring transition day with rapidly warming temperatures is not the time to push into cliffy or very steep terrain. Consider the consequences of getting caught in an avalanche, including personal consequences to you, and to others.

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If you are recreating, please do so responsibly. This includes social distancing requirements, not taking actions that risk pulling emergency service workers away from the important work they’re doing, or compromising their ability to continue that work. Learn more about the CAIC's work during the pandemic here.

 

Governor Polis issued a Statewide Stay-at-Home order on March 25, 2020 - Learn more here.

  

Many of Colorado’s counties have issued public health orders that affect travel and recreation. You can start your search for local information here. Here is some information for this zone: Pitkin CountyGarfield County and Gunnison County.


  • Large debris fan ~ 2k below trigger at ridge lines. Car sized cornice chunks were visible in the basin flats. (full)
  • Semi continuous crown line underneath large cornices at 13,400’ (N/NE) likely cornice fall triggered and stepped down to run a substantial distance (full)
  • NE aspect at 13,200. Wind slab likely from the last 48 hours stepped down to March 18th layer (full)
  • A large avalanche that stepped down into deeply buried weak layers below the cliff band. Upridge there is a another slab avalanche that did not break into deeper layers. Northeast, Taylor Peak. Likely ran 3/24-25 but not known (full)

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Five Day Trend

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Avalanche Observations
Report Date # Elevation Aspect Type Trigger SizeR SizeD
View Tue Mar 31 - >TL NE SS N R2 D2
View Tue Mar 31 - >TL N SS N R2 D2
View Mon Mar 30 - >TL NE SS N R2 D2.5
View Mon Mar 30 - >TL NE SS N R2 D2
View Sun Mar 29 - >TL N WL N R1 D1

See All Avalanche Observations

Field Reports
Report Date Observer Snowpack Obs Avalanches Media
View Tue Mar 31 Jacob Dalbey No Yes (2) Yes (3)
View Mon Mar 30 Matt Huber No Yes (2) Yes (1)
View Sun Mar 29 Brian Lazar No Yes (1) No
View Sun Mar 29 Matt Huber No No No

See All Field Reports

Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
Sunlight Wed Apr 1 7:00 AM 27 68 20 220 30 1.0

See All Weather Observations