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Heads up for Avy danger this weekend

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I'm jonesing bad to get out this weekend and avoid the throngs, thongs, and Prana tops at Smith, but the avy danger in the hills is pretty scary right now.

 

It sounds like there's been as much as 18" of new snow in the last couple days, on a very firm base.

 

Let's be safe out there this weekend, folks!

 

-L

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What was the snow level? It seemed pretty warm the last couple of days rouuuuuunnnnnnd heeeeeeeeee-yer. tongue.gif

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there sure doesnt seem to be any fresh snow below 8000' in chilliwack area - top of slesse as seen thru the clouds is still black.

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Don't be so quick to pass this off...

 

WEST SLOPES NORTH CASCADES AND PASSES-

WEST SLOPES CENTRAL CASCADES AND PASSES-

 

 

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SEATTLE WA

 

415 AM PDT FRI MAY 28 2004

 

.SYNOPSIS...A DEEP UPPER LOW WILL SWING ACROSS WESTERN WASHINGTON TODAY...FOR MORE SHOWERS AND A CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS. A WEAK WARM FRONT WILL MOVE INTO THE AREA SATURDAY...AND MOIST WESTERLY FLOW ALOFT WILL KEEP SHOWERS IN THE FORECAST THROUGH THE WEEKEND. AN UPPER RIDGE WILL BUILD OVER THE AREA EARLY NEXT WEEK FOR A TREND TOWARD WARMER AND DRIER WEATHER.

 

 

 

TODAY...SHOWERS AND CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS... SNOW LEVEL 4500 FEET AFTERNOON PASS TEMPERATURES AROUND 50. WEST WIND IN THE PASSES AROUND 10 MPH.

TONIGHT...SHOWERS LIKELY... SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 3 INCHES... SNOW LEVEL 4000 FEET. WEST WIND IN THE PASSES 10 TO 15 MPH.

SATURDAY...SHOWERS LIKELY... SNOW LEVEL 4500 FEET... AFTERNOON PASS TEMPERATURES IN THE LOWER 50S. WEST WIND IN THE PASSES 10 TO 15 MPH.

SATURDAY NIGHT...SHOWERS LIKELY... SNOW LEVEL 5500 FEET... WEST WIND IN THE PASSES 10 TO 15 MPH.

SUNDAY...SHOWERS LIKELY... SNOW LEVEL 4500 FEET... AFTERNOON PASS TEMPERATURES IN THE 50S. WEST WIND IN THE PASSES 10 TO 15 MPH.

 

 

 

You hear that cracked? Come rock climb instead!

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A guy (Gary Brill) says on telemarktips.com:

 

The snow was already gloppy above 5500'-6500' except on S and W slopes and significant rainfall preceded the snowfall. Only on S & W slopes is the old snowpack reasonably consolidated. Pole tests on N slopes near Washington Pass above 7000' on Tuesday (before this event) showed the top 18" to have minimal crusts and to be largely unconsolidated. This structure was confirmed by noting that two avalanches that started last Saturday - Monday went to the ground. Except on west slopes maybe and above 7500' or so, expect only a marginal crust between the wet old snow and drier new snow. With even more new snow expected, any solar radiation, especially under partially cloudy skies will cause significant avalanche hazard. Large avalanches involving some or in isolated cases much of the old snowpack are possible.

 

Which sounds slightly hysterical (to use the term correctly for once), but may hold some truth...

 

edit: Gary Brill is not "hysterical" and he knows a lot about avalaches and snowpack analysis bigdrink.gif

Edited by ashw_justin

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i'm not sure what you find hysterical about gary brill's post, but i think your preface to, and analysis of said post are pretty funny considering that he has been teaching avalanche safety to nw climbers for longer than many posters here have been climbing in the nw cantfocus.gif

 

http://classic.mountainzone.com/ski/2000/avalanche/

 

anyway, good of you to share that info with the rest of us thumbs_up.gif

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I'm gonna have to agree with this one too. From what i saw before this last storm, there were some pretty nice running surfaces down here. A fair ammount of rain fell on the 3 sisters area before this last blast of 5-6" has been dropping. Furthermore, substantial winds have been cranking throughout the past 24 hours during the snowfall

 

at 7000' avg 20mph gusts to 40 mph W-NW

at 9000' avg 40-50mph gusts to *70+* W-NW

 

There hasn't been a good freeze-thaw cycle in quite sometime 'round here, so indeed play it safe.

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Any feelings on the Fuhrer Finger (Rainier), by Monday/Tuesday??? Hang out by the Wilson and watch the weather for a few days, or go for something safer?

 

I'm becoming more and more inclined to ditch this route for something less of a gully.

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Which sounds slightly hysterical (to use the term correctly for once)

Breaking into an uncontrollable fit of emotion confused.gif

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A guy (Gary Brill)

 

Same as James, this "guy" knows his snow and I'm inclined to agree with gapertimmy--lots of rain, new snow, no real freeze/thaw cycle the last couple weeks, and lots of bottomless (now saturated) mush. Ripe for soft, wet slides and climax avies.

 

Don't let that keep you out of the mts., but be smart--assess the snow and know what's above you that may come down. For a related story with a happy ending follow this link to the 10th entry down and let's all have happy endings to whatever adventures we have planned this weekend. Be safe, smart, and have fun. pitty.gif

 

http://www.turns-all-year.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=tr0405;action=display;num=1085368150

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i'm not sure what you find hysterical about gary brill's post, but i think your preface to, and analysis of said post are pretty funny considering that he has been teaching avalanche safety to nw climbers for longer than many posters here have been climbing in the nw cantfocus.gif

 

http://classic.mountainzone.com/ski/2000/avalanche/

 

anyway, good of you to share that info with the rest of us thumbs_up.gif

 

You misunderstand me. I think we are lucky that Gary Brill is willing to share his knowledge with us, and I agree with what he is saying. I bear no ill will to Gary Brill, I just think saying that the entire snowpack is going to avalanche off of the mountain is a little "hysterical" as in, exhibiting a quality of hysteria. That's why I added that little note, so that people didn't think I was calling his post "funny." I don't think it is funny at all, this is a serious matter. So sorry for ruffling feathers.

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I just think saying that the entire snowpack is going to avalanche off of the mountain is a little "hysterical" as in, exhibiting a quality of hysteria.

Thanks for posting. But Gary Brill didn't say that the entire snowpack is going to avalanche off the mountain. He said that a large avalanche involving much of the existing snowpack is possible. Having seen huge blocks of the entire snowpack fracture off of slabs above the Ice Cliff glacier and avalanche down the route on multiple occasions, I don't think this is an farfetched statement at all. Characterizing Brill's cautionary post as hysterical is mischaracterizing what he was saying.

Edited by Stephen_Ramsey

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Yeah I'm guilty of exagerating. But come on I only said "slightly hysterical", lighten up guys...

 

So anyway, back to the avalanche discussion...

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Fair enough. Back to the avalanche discussion... I dunno, lots of rainfall and new snow scares me. My limited understanding is that rainfall can really weaken the old snowpack. New snow falling under high winds would have me worried about substantial buildup on lee slopes. If I were heading into the hills this weekend, I'd be aiming for some kind of ridge route...JMGO (just my gumby opinion).

Edited by Stephen_Ramsey

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I'm jonesing bad to get out this weekend and avoid the throngs, thongs, and Prana tops at Smith, but the avy danger in the hills is pretty scary right now.

 

It sounds like there's been as much as 18" of new snow in the last couple days, on a very firm base.

 

Let's be safe out there this weekend, folks!

 

-L

 

So, besides just making it up, where do you get your figure of 18" from!?! If you'd bother to look at any of the telemetry sites, you'd see that most of them have stayed the same or gone down in the past several days.

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JoshK,

 

Good point. I did notice this however:

 

Tumwater shows 0.12" rainfall today and 0.15" on the 24th.

 

Stevens Pass shows 0.42" rainfall today, 0.64" yesterday, 0.26" on the 26th, 0.18" on the 25th, and 0.25" on the 24th.

That's a fair bit of rain.

 

Over an inch of rain at the Mount Baker Ski area today.

 

Sadly the precip gauge for Washington Pass seems to be broken?

 

Assuming a normal lapse rate, the snow level seems to be about 6000' at Stevens Pass during the day, falling to maybe 4500' overnight. Probably that means some new snow at higher elevations, yes? Don't know about how much, however.

 

Not trying to be alarmist or anything, just trying to read the tea leaves like everyone else...

Edited by Stephen_Ramsey

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Ye gads, guys, my intent was to point out that just because it's late May, and the snowpack mostly consolidated (or disappeared), with this recent weather it's worth paying a little extra attention to conditions.

 

The numbers are from the WOW Update this morning. Here is a portion:

 

Snow Update.

Here are the snow totals of new snow (cumulative) from this Wednesday 5-26 and Thursday 5-27. There will be more snow at lower elevation today, Friday

Mt. Rainier area at 8000' and above =19", at 8000' to 6000' =9"

Mt Baker area at 7500' and above = 18", at 6000' to 7500'=10"

Central Cascades: Stevens-Snoq. Pass area at 7000' and above =18", at 6000 to 7000=3"

-Loren

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Ahh, ok, at the very high elevations...I can see that. Plenty of stuff can be done lower down, esp. considering most of the range is below those elevations. :-)

 

Good points are being made here...one of my scariest "near misses" was in the spring...all it took was a little insolation to get shit moving like hookers on aurora.

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