Avalanche Bulletin - Glacier National Park - Thu Mar 04, 2021

Issued: Thu Mar 04, 2021 08:16
Valid Until: Fri Mar 05, 2021 08:00

Large Areas of Glacier National Park Are CLOSED For Avalanche Control Using EXPLOSIVES. For access information visit pc.gc.ca/skirogers or call (250) 837-7500

Spring is in the air, with warm temperatures and high freezing levels. Avoid solar aspects this afternoon; paths like frequent flyer are likely to avalanche today.
Wind slabs are still lurking, and can have serious consequences in the wrong terrain!
[RC]

Public Avalanche Forecast
Danger Ratings: Thursday alpine treeline below treeline
alpine: 3 - Considerable
3 - Considerable
  • Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential.
  • Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely.
  • Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas.
treeline: 3 - Considerable
3 - Considerable
  • Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential.
  • Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely.
  • Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas.
below treeline: 3 - Considerable
3 - Considerable
  • Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential.
  • Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely.
  • Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas.
Forecast
Forecast Friday Saturday
alpine View Alpine Danger Rating Trend 2 - Moderate 3 - Considerable
treeline View Treeline Danger Rating Trend 2 - Moderate 2 - Moderate
below treeline View Below Treeline Danger Rating Trend 2 - Moderate 2 - Moderate
Confidence: Moderate
High The forecast is based on high-quality information and the nature of the issue makes it possible to render a solid judgement. A 'high confidence' rating does not imply fact or complete certainty however, and such judgements still carry the risk of being wrong.
Moderate The information used to produce the forecast is credibly sourced and plausible, but it is not of adequate quality or sufficiently corroborated to warrant a higher level of confidence.
Low The credibility or plausibility of the information used to produce the forecast is questionable, or the information is too fragmented or poorly corroborated to make solid judgements, or there are significant concerns regarding problems with the sources.
Past 24 hour weather
Station Maximum (°C) Minimum (°C) Snowfall (cm) Snow Pack (cm) Wind speed Ridgetop wind direction
Fidelity 1905m 0 -5 0 360 Light (1-25 km/h) SE
Rogers Pass 1315m 3 -9 0 165 Light (1-25 km/h) NE
Low
  • Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
  • Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely.
  • Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain.
Moderate
  • Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
  • Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible.
  • Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas.
Considerable
  • Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential.
  • Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely.
  • Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas.
High
  • Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
  • Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely.
  • Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas.
Extreme
  • Avoid all avalanche terrain.
  • Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
  • Large to very large avalanches in many areas.

Problem 1: Wet Loose

Which Elevation?
Which Elevation? below treeline, treeline, alpine
Which Slopes?
Which Slopes? southeast, south, southwest, west, east, northeast, north, northwest
Chance of Avalanches?
Chance of Avalanches? very Likely
Expected Size?
Expected Size? small - large

Strong solar radiation and high freezing levels will initiate a wet loose avalanche cycle today. This will occur primarily on steep solar aspects; however, we'll still see activity on shaded aspects at lower elevations.

Problem 2: Wind Slabs

Which Elevation?
Which Elevation? alpine, treeline, below treeline
Which Slopes?
Which Slopes? west, northwest, north, northeast, east, southeast, south, southwest
Chance of Avalanches?
Chance of Avalanches? likely
Expected Size?
Expected Size? small - large

Previous extreme winds have left behind variable wind slabs in the Alpine and exposed areas of Treeline. A skier accidental size 3 wind slab occurred yesterday in the Grizzly Couloir, triggered by the 4th skier in the group. Click here for details.

Travel and Terrain Advice

  • Use caution in lee areas. Recent wind loading has created wind slabs.
  • Watch for shooting cracks or stiffer feeling snow. Avoid areas that appear wind loaded.
Problem Glossary
Dry Loose
  • Are usually small, but may gain significant mass on long steep slopes.
  • Are typically limited to steep terrain (40+ degrees).
  • Stabilize soon after a storm, usually within a few days.
Dry Loose avalanches are best managed by:
  • Avoiding terrain traps and large steep slopes until the surface has stabilized.
  • On large steep slopes, occasionally move across the fall line to avoid being caught by your own sluffs from above.
Wet Loose
  • Are more powerful than dry loose avalanches due to their higher density.
  • Are often limited to sunny slope aspects.
  • Are commonly confined to the warmest part of the day.
Wet Loose avalanches are best managed by:
  • Avoiding start zones and avalanche paths when the snow becomes moist from daytime heating, from rain, or does not freeze overnight.
Wind Slabs
  • Vary in size from small to medium.
  • Occur on steeper lee and cross-loaded portions of slopes (typically 35+ degrees).
  • Are often limited to specific terrain features such as lee ridge-tops.
  • Can often be recognized by the appearance of the snow surface, changes in surface snow hardness, hollow, drum-like sounds and/or shooting cracks.
  • Winds that vary in strength and direction can produce complex and unexpected wind slab patterns.
  • Stabilize fairly soon, usually in a few days to a week.
Wind slabs are best managed by:
  • Recognizing and avoiding areas where wind slabs have formed, until they have stabilized.
Storm Slabs
  • Vary in size from small to very large.
  • May be soft slabs, fooling people into underestimating slab potential.
  • Tend to occur on moderately steep slopes (35+ degrees).
  • May occur in all terrain, but are larger and more frequent in the alpine.
  • Stabilize soon after a storm, usually within a few days.
Storm slabs are best managed by:
  • Conservative terrain choices during and after storms until the storm snow has stabilized.
Wet Slabs
  • Involve wet layers in the snowpack, typically including deeper layers.
  • Tend to be large.
  • Occur when water forms or penetrates below the surface of the snowpack.
Wet slabs are best managed by: 
  • Avoiding start zones and avalanche paths when the snow becomes wet from daytime heating, rain, or lack of an overnight freeze.
Persistent Slabs
  • Slide on buried persistent weak layers, which often form during clear periods and may involve deeper layers from multiple storms.
  • Vary in size from medium to very large and may cross terrain barriers to involve multiple slide paths.
  • May occur on very gentle terrain, even slopes of 20 degrees or less.
  • May be localized to specific elevations, aspects, or regions.
  • There are often no visible signs of persistent slab instability.
  • Lack of avalanche activity and lack of danger signs are NOTreliable indicators of stability.
  • Compression tests and Rutschblock tests may locate persistent weak layers.
  • Stabilize slowly, tending to persist for several weeks or longer.
  • Often have dormant periods, becoming active again when the weather changes.
  • Are prone to lingering pockets of instability that persist long after most areas have stabilized.
  • Tend to release above the trigger, making it difficult to escape.
  • Are often triggered remotely from a long distance away.
Persistent slabs are best managed by:
  • Very conservative terrain choices.
  • Allow extra time for persistent slabs to stabilize and use a very cautious approach to new terrain. Be especially cautious after storms or during warming periods.
Deep Persistent Slabs
  • Slide on deeply buried persistent weak layers, which often form during clear periods or rain-on-snow events early in the season.
  • Involve thick, hard slabs, sometimes the entire snowpack.
  • Tend to be very large, commonly cross terrain barriers to involve multiple slide paths.
  • Tend to occur on larger slopes of moderate steepness, typically 30-40 degrees.
  • May be localized to specific elevations, aspects, or regions.
  • There are often no visible signs of persistent deep slab instability.
  • Lack of avalanche activity and lack of danger signs are NOT reliable indicators of stability.
  • Stabilize slowly if at all, persisting for months and often the entire season.
  • Dormant persistent deep slab instabilities often become active again when the weather changes, especially after storms or with warm spring weather.
  • Tend to release above the trigger, making it difficult to escape.
  • Are often triggered remotely from a long distance away.

Deep persistent slabs are best managed by:

  • Very conservative terrain choices and a very cautious approach to new terrain.
  • Be especially cautious after storms or during warming periods.
Cornices
  • May trigger large slab avalanches on relatively stable slopes below.
  • Are often associated with recent wind loading and/or temperature changes.
  • Can be triggered from ridges, sometimes breaking surprisingly far back onto ridge tops.

Cornices are best managed by:

  • Approaching corniced ridges cautiously.
  • Avoid travelling on or near overhanging cornices and limit time spent exposed to slopes below cornices, especially soon after wind events and during periods of warming temperatures.
Forecast Details

Weather Forecast

It's going to be a hot sunny day for Rogers Pass! The freezing level is forecast to rise to 2200m, with clear skies and no precip. The only cooling weather factor today might be the wind, as its forecasted to be 20km/h, gusting to 50km/h. Clear tonight, Fl dropping to 1300m, and winds gusting to 60km/h. Friday will be warm too, but with flurries.

Snowpack Discussion

Recent strong to extreme winds left behind a variety of wind slabs in the Alpine and exposed areas of TL. The surface snow turned moist yesterday at lower elev on all asp, and higher on solar asp. Strong solar input today will destabilize the upper snowpack again. The February facet layer is buried 80cm to 1+m, depending on asp & elev.

Avalanche Activity Discussion

A significant skier accidental size 3 wind slab occurred yesterday in the Grizzly Couloir, click here for details. Another skier accidental size 1.5 occurred on Mcgill Shoulder yesterday; below tree line on a west asp, click here for more details. In the HWY corridor, Lens path went size 3, starting in extreme terrain on a solar asp.

For More Details

Emergency: 1 (877) 852-3100
Forecasters: (250) 837-7500

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