Entries by Frank Carus

Avalanche Advisory for Friday, March 2, 2018

We are starting the morning with low avalanche danger in all forecast areas. The storm system passing by to the south will likely generate 4-8” of new snow in higher terrain. Easterly wind, shifting to the northeast, will ramp up through the day, building wind slabs that may avalanche naturally in many areas. While wind will eventually reach a velocity capable of scouring lots of the terrain, we will pass through a period of peak instability before we get there. If you choose to travel in avalanche terrain today, remember that the new wind slabs will be forming over an icy bed surface and will be touchy and may fail above you naturally. Due to the wind direction today, wind slab avalanches won’t be large, but they may be large enough to carry you over cliffs or into rocks. Dry loose avalanches may be plentiful as well and will contribute to the volume of wind slab at the base of steep areas. Forecast areas sheltered from NE winds may grow larger wind slabs than usual. Lobster Claw, Right Gully and Sluice in Tuckerman Ravine meet that criteria. The northern gullies in Huntington have limited bed surfaces but their sheltered location could allow wind slabs to grow quickly in steep, upper and mid elevation start zones.

Avalanche Advisory for March 1, 2018

Thin wind slabs, which formed earlier in the week, are scattered throughout northeast facing terrain. These have passed through their unstable phase and should not be of much concern except possibly in the very steepest locations. The old gray refrozen snowpack that makes up most of the travel surface in our forecast area, will be underfoot everywhere due to the thin coating of new snow on top. This surface will create the primary concern for climbing and riding due to its firm and icy nature. Any softening that occurs later in the day in the sun or with warming temperatures will likely be only at the surface. On days like today with temperatures around freezing, passing clouds can allow the snow to quickly refreeze and make arresting a fall difficult at best. Crampons, an ice axe and the ability to use them well will be useful to avoid a long sliding fall today.