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

Mon, Nov 30, 2020 at 6:59 AM
Issued by: Jeff Davis

Monday

 

Tuesday

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.
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Summary

Avalanche conditions are generally safe, but triggering an avalanche is not out of the question. Look for unstable snow on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees that face north, northeast, and east where a cohesive slab of snow sits on top of weak snow buried near the ground. Any avalanche triggered is likely to be small but keep in mind the consequences of triggering; even a small avalanche in steep terrain can quickly pick up speed and slam you into trees or rocks.

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Please remember to recreate responsibly, including following state and local public health orders and social distancing recommendations.

 

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


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 Mon, Nov 30, 2020 at 5:08 AM by Ben Pritchett Statewide Weather Forecast
  Monday Monday Night Tuesday
Temperature (ºF) 27 to 32 5 to 10 17 to 22
Wind Speed (mph) 1 to 11 4 to 14 7 to 17
Wind Direction W WSW NW
Sky Cover Clear Mostly Clear Overcast
Snow (in) 0 0 0 to 2

Archived Forecasts

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Mon, Nov 30, 2020 at 8:09 AM
Issued by: Jeff Davis Statewide Weather Forecast  

Throughout the Central Mountains, avalanche conditions are generally safe in part because of the limited, or lack of coverage on most slopes. The exception to the rule is on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees that face north, northeast, or east where you could still trigger an avalanche that breaks near the ground. These slopes are easy to identify because they are located along or just below ridgelines where previous winds have drifted snow. They will be supportable to your body weight, look rounded and smooth, and be the most inviting slopes for skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, and extreme snowshoers. This makes for an especially tricky scenario if you’re an adventurous recreator looking to find some early season riding. In the Sawatch range, Independence Pass to Monarch Pass is where we’re seeing this problem most pronounced.

The last skier-triggered avalanche in the Central Mountains was on Friday, November 27th near Crested Butte on a steep, northeast-facing slope on Snodgrass Mountain. The avalanche was small but is a good example of the avalanche you might encounter.

So how come we aren’t seeing larger avalanches? The short answer is the lack of continuity of the weak layer described. Its spotty distribution throughout the snowpack is a barrier to how far and wide the avalanches can break. Now that we have more coverage and the surface snow is weakening this will change once we have a cohesive slab of snow over the current snow surface.

Weather is the architect of all avalanches and right now our current dry weather is not setting us up for a stable future. It’s like building a home (snowpack) on top of a sandy foundation (faceted snow). The current cold clear nights are turning the snow that exists on the ground into weak, sugary snow called facets. These facets are persistent weak layers and responsible for nearly 70% of all avalanche fatalities. If you’ve lived in Colorado for many years you’re already familiar with this problem as this is a common setup for Colorado's continental snowpack.

Looking ahead, we’ll have a small storm move through the area tomorrow. Snowfall from the storm looks to be minimal with only two to four inches of snow likely. We’ll watch to see what happens with the wind speed and direction but overall avalanche conditions won’t change drastically. Eventually, more snow will arrive and when it does we’ll be building a slab on a weak pre-existing snowpack. For now, enjoy the nice weather and generally safe avalanche conditions

 


  • Large shooting crack on northeast slope above treeline. Nov. 26, 2020 (full)
  • Wind drifting snow. Sawatch Range. Nov. 25, 2020

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Avalanche Observations
Report Date # Elevation Aspect Type Trigger SizeR SizeD
View Sat Nov 28 - <TL NE L AS / c R1 D1
View Fri Nov 27 - <TL NE - AS R1 D1.5

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Field Reports
Report Date Observer Snowpack Obs Avalanches Media
View Sun Nov 29 Zach Guy No No Yes (2)
View Sat Nov 28 (Public) Crested Butte Avalanche Center No No Yes (2)
View Sat Nov 28 Zach Guy No Yes (1) Yes (8)
View Sat Nov 28 Evan Ross No No No
View Sat Nov 28 Jack Caprio No No Yes (2)
View Fri Nov 27 (Public) Crested Butte Avalanche Center No Yes (1) Yes (2)

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Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
Elkton Mon Nov 30 10:00 AM 24 35 4 282 11 0.5
Taylor Park Mon Nov 30 8:57 AM 13 54 2 37 3 -

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