THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON March 4, 2017 @ 6:38 am
Avalanche Advisory published on March 3, 2017 @ 6:38 am
Issued by Dave Bingaman - Payette Avalanche Center
bottom line

The Avalanche Danger is Moderate on upper elevation wind exposed slopes where wind slabs continue to form and on slopes that receive direct sun throughout the day.  Wet, loose avalanches may be possible if Southerly slopes are exposed to direct sunlight.  Expect this problem to begin early on East facing slopes and move around the bottom of the compass throughout the day.  Below 7000 feet on protected slopes the danger is Low.

How to read the advisory


  • Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
Avalanche Problem 1: Loose Wet
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The combination of warming temperatures and direct sunlight may be enough to tip the scale on some of the cold snow that can be still be found on most aspects.  Yesterday,  cooling winds and partly cloudy skies kept the snow pack fairly cool until late in the afternoon.  If the sun makes a prolonged appearance today, you can expect that steep solar aspects will begin shedding some snow.  Rocky areas and upper elevation East facing slopes will need to be watched in the first half of the day with the avalanche problem migrating around the South half of the compass to West facing slopes in the afternoon.  This is an easy problem to avoid, if you notice increasing roller ball activity or trees shedding snow, move to a cooler aspect.

Avalanche Problem 2: Wind Slab
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Winds over the last week have had no problem moving the light, dry snow around throughout the upper elevation terrain. South Valley areas saw higher winds earlier this week than the Northern Mountains.  Over the last 48 hours winds have been out of the W and SW for the most part and high enough to continue to move available snow.  The windward aspects are now pretty much sculpted and stripped of most of the available snow but higher Southwest winds today will continue to transport whatever loose snow is left.  

Cornices as well as the skiing and riding conditions are "all time" right now.  Avoid traveling near these monsters or lingering on slopes below them.  Over the next few days cornices will likely be sending large pieces downhill as warmer snow and high winds overload them.  Winds ahead of the next storm system will strengthen throughout the day with gusts over 30 today and as high as 47 MPH tonight. Warm snow and high winds will make for some new avalanche problems tomorrow and through the weekend.

advisory discussion

Snowmobiler/Snowbiker Travel Restrictions: Please respect these closures and other users recreating in them.  Winter Travel Map(East side). You can download the map to the AVENZA app on your phone, and know your exact location while you are out riding.  It is your responsiblity to know where closures exist on the forest.

The Granite Mountain Area Closure is in effect Jan15-March 31, please respect Snowcats operating in this and nearby areas.  In addition there are other areas on the Payette National Forest that are CLOSED to snowmobile traffic including Jughandle Mt east of Jug Meadows, North of Boulder Mtn, East of Rapid Peak, North of the 20 mile drainage, Lick Creek/Lake Fork Drainage (on the right side of the road as you are traveling up canyon), and the area north of Brundage Mt Ski area to junction "V" and along the east side of Brundage and Sergeants' Mts. with the exception of the Lookout Rd( junction "S").

The Friends of the Payette Avalanche Center (FPAC) needs YOU! We are in desperate need of more user support and financial assistance. The avalanche forecast is not a guaranteed service, and is in jeopardy of dwindling down to only a couple of days a week in the near future.We have equipment that is overdue for replacement but lack the funds to purchase new gear including weather station parts and our forecast sleds.  Please help if you can by clicking the DONATE tab above. If you value this life saving information, make a donation or help the FPAC in raising funds for the future.

recent observations

Yesterday we traveled through some deep, protected areas and some stiff wind scoured areas on the ridgelines.  Moderate winds were easily transporting the remaining available snow into the Northerly aspects.  Tree wells and wind drifts are very large right now as are the cornices on multiple aspects.  The cold, blower snow has begun to consolidate and is traveling much shallower than it was early this week.  Boot penetration has gone from over thigh deep to just about knee deep this week.  It has not gotten warm enough to form slabs in wind protected areas but upper elevation slopes definitely have begun to solidify where the combined efforts of the sun and wind have begun creating a more cohesive layer.  Sledding was all time again yesterday and skiing was still great in the protected areas.  If you missed out on the snow this week, then you missed it.  Conditions were light and deep and completely atypical for the West Central Mountains. 

NW facing ridgeline above French Creek showing large cornice formation and scouring on ridgetops. 3/2/17

CURRENT CONDITIONS Today's Weather Observations From the Granite Weather Station at 7700 ft.:
0600 temperature: 20 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 25 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: SW
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 5 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 15 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: 59 inches
Disclaimer

This avalanche advisory is provided through a partnership between the Payette National Forest and the Payette Avalanche Center. This advisory covers the West Central Mountains between Hard Butte on the north and Council Mountain on the south. This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires at midnight on the posted day unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.