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

Wed, Apr 1, 2020 at 5:22 AM
Issued by: Mike Cooperstein

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Tomorrow

No Rating (-) Watch for signs of instability like recent avalanches, cracking, and audible collapsing. Avoid traveling on or under similar slopes.   No Rating (-) Watch for signs of instability like recent avalanches, cracking, and audible collapsing. Avoid traveling on or under similar slopes.
No Rating (-) Watch for signs of instability like recent avalanches, cracking, and audible collapsing. Avoid traveling on or under similar slopes.   No Rating (-) Watch for signs of instability like recent avalanches, cracking, and audible collapsing. Avoid traveling on or under similar slopes.
No Rating (-) Watch for signs of instability like recent avalanches, cracking, and audible collapsing. Avoid traveling on or under similar slopes.   No Rating (-) Watch for signs of instability like recent avalanches, cracking, and audible collapsing. Avoid traveling on or under similar slopes.
  Danger Scale

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Summary

You can trigger avalanches that break deeper in the snowpack in areas were the snowpack is less than about 4 feet deep. Likely trigger points are near rocks, cliffs, and near the edges of slopes where the snowpack is thin. The easiest way to identify possibly dangerous slopes is to look for signs of recent wind-loading such as fresh cornice formation and smooth pillows of snow. If you see signs of wind-loading avoid steep slopes on similar aspects. 

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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.

 

Avalanche Problem

 
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N
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NE
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SW
Above Treeline
Near Treeline
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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


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.

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) 36 to 41 19 to 24 35 to 40
Wind Speed (mph) 14 to 24 20 to 30 26 to 36
Wind Direction WSW SW SW
Sky Cover Partly Cloudy Mostly Clear Partly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 0 0

Archived Forecasts

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Wed, Apr 1, 2020 at 7:24 AM
Issued by: Mike Cooperstein Statewide Weather Forecast  

A backcountry skier was caught carried and injured in an avalanche on Telescope Mountain near the town of Rico on Tuesday. This avalanche looks eerily similar to the avalanche that injured a skier near the town of Ophir less than a week ago. There are a couple different persistent weak layers buried in the snowpack that you should watch out for. First, weak near-surface facets that developed in late February are now buried under March snowfall. Lower down and closer to the ground, weak facets and depth hoar comprise the lower part of the snowpack where mid-winter snow depths were shallowest, generally less than 120 cm deep. It is essential that before you commit to slopes steeper than 35 degrees you look to determine if this poor structure exists and how reactive it remains. If you’re unable to determine how reactive these weak layers are, stick to slopes less 35 degrees to help reduce your avalanche risk. Always remember that if stability is the question, you can find plenty of safe options on lower angle slopes.

Conditions at present seem to be more dangerous in the North San Juan zone in areas around Highway 145 and in areas east of Silverton. You can find similar conditions in the western half of the South San Juan zone from the La Plata Mountains northward to the Molas Pass as well. Avalanche activity near Wolf Creek Pass has been very limited recently with mostly small avalanche sin the surface snow. We have not had a report of a rider-triggered slide failing on persistent weak layers around Wolf Creek pass in a few weeks.

Yesterday observers reported numerous wet avalanches at all elevations. Some of these avalanches were large enough to injure you. In areas in the  Red Mountain Pass-Telluride-Ophir triangle, where recent snowfall is deepest, expect loose wet slides to be larger and more dangerous. Keep your head on a swivel and watch out from rollerballs and pinwheels as initial clues the snow surface is quickly warming. 

 

Cornices have grown large rather quickly. It’s best to give these beasts extra room while traveling above as they have a tendency to break further back onto ridgelines than you might expect. This kind of large force or trigger can sometimes be just enough to unleash a bigger slide below.

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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: San Miguel CountySan Juan CountyOuray County, and Hinsdale County


  • Avalanche on Peak 12,628. R-3 D-2 (full)
  • avi debris and crown can be seen R1 D1 on N aspect at 11,140 feet (full)
  • Looking uphill from the gully bottom toward top of the slide path. South San Juan. March 21, 2020. (full)
  • Large, moist facets (2 to 3 mm) buried about 1 meter below the snow surface and below February snowfall. South San Juan. March 19, 2020. (full)
  • Looking across the crown face of the skier-triggered slide on the east face of Snowdon Peak, South San Juan. Notice the surface cracks in the foreground on the snow surface. March 16, 2020. (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
La Veta Pass (160w278) Wed Apr 1 8:50 AM 35 46 - 145 16 -

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