Avalanche Forecast Purcells

Date Issued: Valid Until:

Avalanche Canada ghelgeson, Avalanche Canada

Avalanche Forecast

Sat Feb. 9th ยท 7:11PM

Alpine

Danger Ratings Moderate

Treeline

Danger Ratings Considerable

Below Treeline

Danger Ratings Considerable
Wind Slabs Wind Slabs
Persistent Slabs Persistent Slabs
Deep Persistent Slabs Deep Persistent Slabs

Alpine

Danger Ratings Moderate

Treeline

Danger Ratings Moderate

Below Treeline

Danger Ratings Moderate

Alpine

Danger Ratings Moderate

Treeline

Danger Ratings Moderate

Below Treeline

Danger Ratings Moderate
Watch for wind slabs in unusual locations Sunday. Large avalanches may remain sensitive to human triggering due to the presence of buried surface hoar. Click here to see our Forecasters' Blog for a more detailed description of current conditions.

Confidence

Moderate - Wind effect is extremely variable

Weather Forecast

Cold, dry, arctic air continues to dominate the weather pattern for the foreseeable future.SATURDAY NIGHT: Freezing level at valley bottom, around -20 C in the alpine, light variable winds at all elevations, no significant snowfall expected.SUNDAY: Clear skies at dawn with cloud cover increasing throughout the day, freezing level at valley bottom, around -20 C in the alpine, light variable wind at valley bottom, light southwest wind in the alpine, no significant snowfall expectedMONDAY: Scattered cloud cover, freezing level at valley bottom, around -20 C in the alpine, light variable wind at all elevations, no significant snowfall expected. A few centimeters of snow possible Monday night.TUESDAY: Scattered cloud cover, freezing level at valley bottom, around -20 C in the alpine, light variable wind at most elevations with moderate southwest wind at ridgetop, a few cm of snow possible.

Avalanche Summary

On Saturday a skier remote triggered a size 1 wind slab on a south/southeast facing slope at 2500 m.On Friday a skier in the "Molars South" zone near Golden accidentally triggered a size 2 avalanche on a southeast facing slope at 2300 m with a crown 40 to 50 cm in depth, the mid January persistent weak layer was likely in play. Also on Friday, a natural size 1 persistent slab avalanche was reported from an east facing slope at 1900 m. Finally, a natural size 1 wind slab avalanche was reported from an east facing slope at 2300 m on Friday. The mid-January persistent weak layer continues to be sensitive to human triggering and is sensitive enough to trigger remotely (from a distance). Human triggered avalanches size 1.5 to 2 were reported almost everyday last week. This MIN report from February 3rd illustrates the potential for humans to remotely trigger the mid January layer.

Snowpack Summary

Approximately 30-60 cm of old storm snow sits on, surface hoar (feathery crystals), facets (sugary snow) and a crust on sun-exposed slopes. A very notable feature in the snowpack is a persistent weak layer that was buried in mid January, which is now 50-90 cm below the surface. This layer consists primarily of surface hoar, however there is also a crust associated with it on sun-exposed slopes. This layer has been most reactive at treeline and below.The base of the snowpack has a deep persistent weak layer near the ground. This layer consists of facets over a crust. This weak interface continues to produce large and destructive avalanches that are sporadic in nature, and very difficult to predict. This layer is most likely to be triggered from areas where the snowpack is shallow and weak. Rocky alpine bowls, ridge crests and rocky outcroppings are some examples of the kind of terrain to be wary of.

Problems

Wind Slabs

Wind Slabs

30-60 cm of old storm snow has been redistributed by recent north and east winds, wind slabs may be found in unusual locations.

If triggered, wind slabs may step down to deeper layers and result in large avalanches.Be careful with wind loaded pockets, especially near ridge crests and roll-overs.

Aspects: All aspects.

Elevations: Alpine.

Likelihood

Possible - Unlikely

Expected Size

1 - 2
Persistent Slabs

Persistent Slabs

50-90 cm of snow now sits on a weak layer of surface hoar and crust that was buried in mid January. This layer has been most reactive at lower elevations.

Any steep opening in the trees should be treated as suspect right now.Choose low angled terrain.

Aspects: All aspects.

Elevations: Treeline, Below Treeline.

Likelihood

Possible

Expected Size

1 - 2.5
Deep Persistent Slabs

Deep Persistent Slabs

The base of the snowpack has a very weak layer that continues to produce very large avalanches from time to time. The probability of triggering this layer is somewhat low, but the consequences are very high.

Minimize overhead exposure; avalanches triggered by cornice fall may be large and destructive.Use caution on alpine slopes, especially around thin areas that may propagate to deep instabilities.Avoid making assumptions about this layer based on aggressive tracks on adjacent slopes.

Aspects: All aspects.

Elevations: Alpine, Treeline.

Likelihood

Possible - Unlikely

Expected Size

3 - 4