North Columbia Avalanche Forecast

Issued: Mar 22nd, 2021 4:00PM

Tue Mar 23rd Current Conditions
Alpine Moderate Treeline Moderate Below Treeline Low
Wed Mar 24th 2 Day Outlook
Alpine Considerable Treeline Moderate Below Treeline Low
Thu Mar 25th 3 Day Outlook
Alpine Moderate Treeline Moderate Below Treeline Low

The alpine rating is moderate, the treeline rating is moderate, and the below treeline rating is low. Known problems include Wind Slabs and Cornices.

Carefully assess your line for wind slabs before committing. Steep, convex slopes below ridges are the most likely places to trigger these slabs.

Summary

Confidence

Moderate - Uncertainty is due to the speed, direction, or duration of the wind and its effect on the snowpack.

Weather Forecast

MONDAY NIGHT: Cloudy and unsettled. Light to moderate northwest wind, alpine low -12C, and freezing level rising valley bottom.

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy with scattered flurries, up to 5 cm. Light to moderate southwest wind, alpine high -6C, and freezing level rising to about 1000 m.

WEDNESDAY: Snow, 10-15 cm. Moderate southwest wind, alpine high -2C, and poor overnight recovery with freezing level hovering around 1000 m overnight Tuesday and rising above 1500 m during the day.

THURSDAY: Flurries, 5 cm. Light west wind, alpine high +1C, and freezing level rising to about 1500 m.

Avalanche Summary

On Monday, explosives triggered several size 1-1.5 avalanches on NW-N-NE aspects above 1800 m. Skies triggers small dry-loose avalanches in steep terrain. And several natural storm slab avalanches size 2-2.5 were reported in Glacier NP, occurring on north-northwesterly aspects above 1950m.

On Sunday, explosives and skier traffic triggered numerous size 1 avalanches. A few small dry loose avalanches and sluffing in steep terrain was also reported.

On Saturday in Glacier NP, a handful of storm slabs size 1.5-2.5 released naturally from steep north-northwest aspects above 2000 m. A large (size 2.5) glide crack release from a west aspect.

On Friday, several glide slab avalanches (size 2-3) were observed on south and east aspects around the TCH highway corridor. Loose wet avalanches to size 2.5 were reported around the region; a natural loose-wet cycle was reported around Rogers Pass initiating with evening rainfall.

Snowpack Summary

Southwesterly winds have developed slabs in lee features. 20-35 cm storm snow (up to 60 cm in areas) covers a handful of surfaces: dry settled snow and surface hoar (up to 10 mm) on northerly aspects above 1800m, and crusts on solar aspects and lower elevations. Sun and warm temperatures have encouraged settlement. Large cornices loom over alpine ridgetops. Below 1600 m, the snowpack turns moist.

Persistent weak layers of surface hoar, crusts, and/or facets 80-120 cm down have been unreactive and no recent avalanches have been reported on these layers.

Terrain and Travel

  • Watch for wind-loaded pockets especially around ridgecrest and in extreme terrain.
  • Look for signs of instability: whumphing, hollow sounds, shooting cracks, and recent avalanches.
  • Carefully evaluate steep lines for wind slabs.
  • Pay attention to cornices and give them a wide berth when traveling on or below ridges.

Problems

Wind Slabs

An icon showing Wind Slabs

Likelihood

Possible

Expected Size

1 - 2

Recent southwest winds and fresh snow formed wind slabs in lee terrain features. Now in a west-northwesterly flow, winds may "reverse load" slopes, building fresh wind slabs on more south and easterly aspects. Carefully assess your line for wind slabs before committing. Steep, convex slopes below ridges are the most likely places to trigger these slabs.

Aspects:

North, North East, East, South East, West, North West.

Elevations:

Alpine, Treeline.

Cornices

An icon showing Cornices

Likelihood

Possible

Expected Size

2 - 3

Where cornices exist they pose a threat both from the potential for them to collapse under your feet (or machine) and from the potential to send large chunks of snow far down a slope. They are most likely to fail during periods of solar radiation or loading from snow/wind.

Aspects:

North, North East, East, South East, North West.

Elevations:

Alpine.

Valid until: Mar 23rd, 2021 4:00PM

Forecast Trend

The latest forecast danger ratings, broken down to elevation. See how an elevation is trending.