Avalanche Advisory published on March 25, 2018 @ 6:38 am
Issued by Dave Bingaman - Payette Avalanche Center
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The avalanche hazard is LOW today.  2 days of cooling temperatures have made for a generally stable snowpack.  Small loose/wet avalanches are possible IF the sun makes an appearance over the next couple of days but these will be confined to steep, rocky areas that are getting direct sun affect.  Shallow wind slabs may still be found on northerly aspects.  Remember, LOW hazard does not mean no hazard, keep your eyes open for variable conditions.

How to read the advisory

  • Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
Avalanche Problem 1: Wind Slab
  • Character ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?
  • Likelihood ?
    Very Likely
  • Size ?
    Very Large

Shallow wind slabs are still lingering close to the ridgelines.  Keep your eyes open for drifted, or pillowy looking deposits on E, NE, N or NW aspects if you are in steep, wind affected terrain.  Most of the drifts are very shallow and formed Friday night and Saturday morning.  Some of these shallow drifts may be camoflaging older, stiffer wind slabs below.  Hollow, or drummy feeling or sounding snow is a red flag for wind slab. 

Cornices have failed over the last few days as well and there are still some large cornices dotting the ridgelines.  Give overhanging cornices a wide berth right now as they will continue to fail as the snowpack warms up again early this week or if you get too close to the edge.

recent observations

The snowpack is doing a great job refreezing and healing itself right now.  The upper portion of the snowpack got saturated and 2 days of cooler weather have allowed the rain soaked portion of the snowpack to refreeze.  Some areas have a 2-3 inch crust that is sitting on less consolidated snow below but yesterday our pit tests showed little potential for triggering anything below the crust.  Skis are not penetrating this crust and snowmobiles are able to penetrate it in some areas but not in others.  If the sun or a combination of sun and warmer temperatures materialize tomorrow, expect the solar aspects to start shedding snow again in the form of small loose/wet avalanches.  So far over the last 2 days,  the high temps in the mountains did little to soften the crust even in the afternoon.

CURRENT CONDITIONS Today's Weather Observations From the Granite Weather Station at 7700 ft.:
0600 temperature: 14 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 21 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: WSW
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 8 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 32 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: NA inches
Total snow depth: 63 inches

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.