Advisory based on observational knowledge and weather forecast available at time of posting (12am). Accuracy is subject to temporal and spatial variability and expires in 24 hours. Read the disclaimer and conduct your own assessment of conditions accordingly.
What you need to know:
While the avalanche danger is moderate, current snow conditions still demand careful evaluation in order to determine the specific avalanche concerns and danger level in the area in which you’re traveling. Dangerous avalanches conditions may still exist in certain areas, especially upper elevation wind loaded southerly aspects and later in the day on lower elevation slopes receiving the most solar radiation and warming (south to west aspects).
Increasing through the day on warming, sun-exposed, lower elevation slopes. The wind slab danger should be on a slow decline.
Northerly winds picked up significantly on Friday mainly loading leeward southerly aspects as evidenced by widespread pluming of the loose, dry snow from recent storms throughout the Front Range and Eagle River area Chugach. Dangerous human triggered wind slabs occurred Saturday and Sunday on southerly aspects. Relatively small, thin human triggered wind slabs occurred in upper elevation north aspects Sunday. Wind slabs may be possible to trigger on all upper elevation aspects along ridges and near peaks, as well as in cross loaded terrain features and in other catchment or deposition areas.
Human triggered sluffing will be an issue to contend with on steep slopes , especially warmed and moistened lower elevation south to west aspects later in the day. This type of sluffing snow will be relatively heavy and wet (packing more punch). Human triggered sluffing is also likely on steep north facing terrain, but this snow will pack less punch due to it being lighter and drier.
Expect the danger to be the highest on lower elevation south to west aspects later in the day (late afternoon to early evening).
In assessing the wind slab concern, be on the lookout for some of the typical characteristics like a rounded, pillowy look and/or hollow, slabby feel. A shooting crack in wind affected snow is a bull’s eye clue to wind slab instability.
Pay attention to the sun’s effect on the slopes. Look for rollerballs, point releases, sun induced sluffs, and other signs that the sun is significantly warming and decreasing stability on exposed slopes. When temperatures warm and solar radiation increases significantly, the wet avalanche danger will increase.
As always, be on the lookout for red flags of instability like recent avalanches, shooting cracks, collapsing or whumphing. What do these signs tell you about the stability in the area through which you’re traveling and how should you adjust your plans accordingly?
Sunday is forecast to present us with mostly sunny skies, mountain temperatures in the upper teens to 20s, and variable light winds.