March 24, 2014

Low avalanche danger is expected to persist through the week as the weather remains clear, dry, and without significant wind. 

See Saturday’s advisory below for a better idea of the concerns.  Wind slab issues are waning but wet avalanche issues are increasing slightly on south and west aspects later in the day.  Pay attention to how saturated the snow is becoming; moistening, gloppy snow signals rising instability for wet avalanches.

Here’s an additional concern:


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Solar aspect cornices are starting to cook in the intense Alaskan spring sunshine.  Be mindful of how moist/wet/unstable they may become from midday on, primarily those that face south and west.  Cornice falls pose an inherent threat, as well as their ability to trigger subsequent avalanches on the slopes they fall onto.


The danger rating and information provided below is only intended to be valid for 3/22/14


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Low danger does not mean no danger; unstable snow may be found in isolated areas.



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Lingering wind slab problems may still exist in the upper elevations (above 3500′), primarily in areas that have been leeward since last weekend’s storm near peaks and ridges, on cross-loaded terrain, and steep rollovers (convexities).

Be on the lookout for more obvious clues like pockets of snow that look relatively fat, bulbous, pillowy, or otherwise heavily loaded.  Wind slab snow will also be relatively dense or hard and may have a hollow or punchy feel (denser, harder snow on top of looser, softer snow).

This long after significant snow or wind events the small wind slab problem will be more of a concern for knocking one over, rather than burial, so keep terrain consequences such as exposure in mind.


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On upper elevation (above 3500′), steep, and wind-protected slopes (primarily northerly aspects) modest human triggered sluffs are possible.  Again, these aren’t as much a threat due to burial but more so in terms of loss of control and terrain consequences.


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Wet avalanche problems aren’t expected to be much of a concern, as warming and solar radiation have had little obvious effect on the snow so far this week besides creating some superficial crusts in isolated areas and melting out the thinnest areas of the snowpack, but are still worth mentioning in case warming and solar radiation reach more intense levels than what has previously been experienced so far this week…the temperatures have been gradually rising each day.

Later in the day south and west aspects, where the snowpack is thin and/or there are exposed rocks and tundra, will be the most suspect – primarily for loose wet avalanches (wet sluffs or point releases).

Mountain Weather:

Sunny with light, primarily northerly, winds and temps in the mid to upper 20s.

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