Monday, December 23, 2013 Avalanche Outlook
Issued Monday, December 23, 2013 at 8:00am (information provided below expires in 24hrs):
High winds + new snow = dangerous wind slabs. Winds ratcheted up late last night and have been blowing strong for the past several hours, primarily from the N-NW but with only two ridge top weather stations for the Front Range and Eagle River area it’s hard to know the full extent of wind loading due to terrain channeling. Expect sensitive and reactive fresh wind slabs today, which will need time to stabilize once wind speeds relax.
Additional loading from new snow and winds could reactivate instabilities deeper within the snowpack. Winds slabs formed late last week and cohesive slabs sitting on top of the drizzle/melt-freeze crust that formed the week after Thanskgiving are the primary concern. This is the dangerous interface that resulted in a partial burial above Hunter Pass on Thursday.
Check out observations from late last week to get a better idea of what you’ll be dealing with in Front Range and Eagle River area backcountry avalanche terrain, but keep in mind that the danger has since increased due to new snow and wind loading Sunday into Monday.
Please contribute your observations and share them with the AAC if you get out in Chugach State Park!