Avalanche Forecast South Columbia

Date Issued: Valid Until:

Avalanche Canada jsmith, Avalanche Canada

Avalanche Forecast

Sat Mar. 16th ยท 4:31PM

Alpine

Danger Ratings Considerable

Treeline

Danger Ratings Considerable

Below Treeline

Danger Ratings Moderate

Problems

Persistent Slabs Persistent Slabs
Cornices Cornices
Loose Wet Loose Wet

Alpine

Danger Ratings Considerable

Treeline

Danger Ratings Considerable

Below Treeline

Danger Ratings Considerable

Alpine

Danger Ratings High

Treeline

Danger Ratings High

Below Treeline

Danger Ratings Considerable
Warming temperatures have settled the recent storm snow into a cohesive slab sitting on weak facets (sugary snow) that is ripe for human triggers; intense solar radiation will increase the likelihood of natural and human triggered avalanches.

Confidence

Moderate -

Weather Forecast

SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear / Light, northwesterly winds / Alpine low -5 / Freezing level valley bottom.NOTE: Saturday night is the last night of the forecast period that freezing levels are expected to drop at night. This will significantly increase the impact of day time warming on the snowpack.SUNDAY: Sunny / Light, northerly winds / Alpine high 0 / Freezing level rising to 2100 m.MONDAY: Sunny / Light, northeasterly winds / Alpine high 5 / Freezing level rising to 2600 m.TUESDAY: Sunny / Light, southeasterly winds / Alpine high 7 / Freezing level rising to 2800 m.

Avalanche Summary

On Friday, numerous natural loose wet and persistent slab avalanches up to size 2 were reported on solar aspects at all elevations. A skier triggered, persistent slab, size 2 avalanche was reported on a south aspect at 2000 m. Human triggered persistent slab avalanche activity is expected to increase with the forecast sunshine and rising freezing levels.On Thursday, two rider triggered persistent slab avalanches up to size 2 were reported on northerly aspects at treeline and below treeline. Additionally, a cornice failure triggered a size 2.5 persistent slab on a northeast facing treeline ridgetop.On Wednesday, numerous natural storm slab avalanches up to size 3 and rider triggered up to size 2 were reported on primarily solar aspects at treeline and above. Some of the avalanches were triggered remotely from lower angle terrain by skiers 50 m. away from the slope that avalanched. This suggests that recent storm snow is still very sensitive to human triggers in specific locations.

Snowpack Summary

There is 30-60 cm. of recent storm snow is sitting on a pile of facets (sugary snow), as well as a crust on sun exposed slopes. The recent storm snow has settled into a cohesive slab and is ripe for human triggering. This persistent slab is currently our primary concern.At lower elevations below treeline, a weak layer of surface hoar (weak, feathery crystals) buried in mid-January can be found approximately 60-120 cm. deep and may be combined with a crust on south facing slopes. This layer has recently been unreactive, however, the forecast warming event may awaken this layer, resulting in large, destructive avalanches. Steep cutblocks and large open glades at lower elevations are the most likely places to trigger this layer.The lower snowpack is generally considered to be strong, except for shallow, rocky areas in the alpine.

Problems

Persistent Slabs

Persistent Slabs

Warming temperatures have settled the recent storm snow into a cohesive slab sitting on weak facets (sugary snow) that is ripe for human triggers; especially at treeline and above.

Avoid steep terrain where the snow feels moist or slabby.Use extra caution on solar aspects where the new snow is sitting on a crust.Avoid convex slopes on rocky terrain with a variable snow depth.

Aspects: All aspects.

Elevations: All elevations.

Likelihood

Likely - Possible

Expected Size

1.5 - 2.5

Cornices

Cornices

Sunshine and rising freezing levels will elevate the potential for cornice failures resulting in large avalanches.

Avoid exposure to cornices and sun exposed slopes when the solar radiation is strong.Cornice failures have the potential to trigger large avalanches on deeply buried weak layers.Cornices often break further back than expected; give them a wide berth when traveling on ridgetops.

Aspects: North, North East, East, South East, North West.

Elevations: Alpine, Treeline.

Likelihood

Possible

Expected Size

1 - 3

Loose Wet

Loose Wet

Pin-wheeling snow below cliffs is a common sign that loose wet avalanches are becoming more likely.

Avoid exposure to terrain traps where the consequences of a small avalanche could be serious.Avoid steep, sun exposed slopes when the solar radiation is strong.Reduce exposure to over-head hazards such a large cornices during periods of strong solar radiation.

Aspects: East, South East, South, South West, West.

Elevations: All elevations.

Likelihood

Likely

Expected Size

1 - 1.5