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Old 11-29-2012, 11:36 AM   #1
Full83size
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Default Avelanche danger for the 2012-2013 season

I'm not sure how many folks are noticing, but what can generally be noticed as 4" of standing snow is actually about 1" of snow covered with 3" of stacked surface hoar frost. The small amount of snow under the frost is faceted snow which has poor bonding characteristics, created by large temperature gradients. This is leading up to be one of the most dangerous early seasons for avalanches that we've seen in a long time.


I took these pictures on upper hillside this morning:






The cause can be atributed to unusually cold temperatures with no snow cover. This in effect is causing a build up of hoar frost. The issue is that when it finally does snow this year, folks will be hitting the hills in force. The blanket of new snow will be sitting on a sheet of depth hoar frost, which is an extremely unstable base. Unless we get lucky and the snow pack settles and stabilizes rather quickly, most likely we will be plauged with natural slides extending all of the way through the snow pack and down to the ground where the depth hoar frost resides. Think of it as a super fragile layer of snow, and when it breakes loose, it is rolling on top of millions of ball bearings blanketing the ground.
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Last edited by Full83size; 11-29-2012 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: Avelanche danger for the 2012-2013 season

Cool pics and Great info.
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: Avelanche danger for the 2012-2013 season

Misspelled Avy, lame...

http://www.cnfaic.org/. Is a great resource for avalanche awareness
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Avelanche danger for the 2012-2013 season

Great advice. Of course it will actually need to snow for it to be a problem!
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Avelanche danger for the 2012-2013 season

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Great advice. Of course it will actually need to snow for it to be a problem!
Grrrrr no kidding.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Avelanche danger for the 2012-2013 season

Y'all didn't get the memo?

No snow this year, there was a mistake upstairs and they accidentally sent the snow allocated for this year with last years snow.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: Avelanche danger for the 2012-2013 season

LOL thats not right!

Thanks for the info for us newbs.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:28 AM   #8
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Default Re: Avelanche danger for the 2012-2013 season

Shut it Joe .... You just need a mean, green, nasty mountain sled, then you'll be singing a song of a different tune....

Yeah lets hope to see some snow soon. It's going to be wrecking havoc on the dirtwork if this cold temps and no snow cover keeps up. Then again, it is 20 degrees outside
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:36 AM   #9
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Default Re: Avelanche danger for the 2012-2013 season

Copied from the cnfaic.org turnagain advisory

"The northeast winds picked up to the 20-30mph range at the ridge top weather stations late in the day yesterday and though they have decreased this morning, are forecast to pick back up today. Watching for areas with recent wind loading will be a good idea as there is plenty of loose faceted snow available for transport to form touchy wind slabs any place the wind blows.

Surface conditions above treeline yesterday consisted of loose near surface facets with a thin (2-5mm) wind skin on the ridgelines where the wind was just starting to blow. Good sized surface hoar (2-5cm+) on top of the faceted snow is growing at the lower elevations and creek bottoms.

The persistent slab problem we have been mentioning for almost the entire month of November is fading away, finally. The October facets are just as loose as they have always been but the slab on top of them is almost as weak, if not just as weak, as they are. In areas where a poor structure remains (a slab of cohesive snow over non-cohesive snow) the slab is quite stubborn and hard to trigger. The threat is diminishing but the possibility remains that someone could find one of these slabs in just the right upper elevation steep slope.

Our meager November (22” of total snowfall…) has one more day, today, but for those interested in our weather history chart click HERE.


Mountain Weather

The downright cold temperatures we had yesterday are even colder today. This morning it is -17F in Portage and +12F at the Sunburst weather station (3812ft). The warmest place on the mountain seems to be around 2000ft where the SNOTEL is reporting a tropical +18F! That is a 35 degree warm up from sea level to treeline (impressive inversion). Winds picked up from the northeast yesterday to 10-15mph, with gusts to upper 20's, and should remain in this range today. The strong winds seen in other areas due to the state-wide pressure gradient seem to be splitting around the Kenai Mtns for the most part.

Looking into the crystal ball, the blocking high pressure over mainland Alaska and the bearing will start breaking down Monday. Models are showing a shot of precipitation hitting PWS Tuesday into Wednesday - will this verify, and if so, any snow spill over onto our side of the mountains is the question. Cross your fingers."
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: Avelanche danger for the 2012-2013 season

Quote:
Originally Posted by Full83size View Post
Shut it Joe .... You just need a mean, green, nasty mountain sled, then you'll be singing a song of a different tune....
Hahaha!
You got that right!!
You wanna give me one?
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Old 10-04-2013, 10:46 AM   #11
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Default Re: Avelanche danger for the 2012-2013 season

TTT,

Start thinking about Avy safety if you're going to be in the back country this year. Bare minimum make sure that you have a working beacon, shovel and probe. Above all, learn to use them and stay out of terrain traps and run out areas!
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Old 10-09-2013, 01:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: Avelanche danger for the 2012-2013 season

Get your gear in order! Just a snap shot of some of the stuff in my gear bag:

Probe
Shovel
Beacon
Flags
Saw
Hatchet
Flashlights
Energy bars
Heat blankets
Tons of fire starters
Knives
First aid to handle a bad wound
Rope
Spark plugs
Etc....

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Old 10-09-2013, 01:20 PM   #13
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Default Re: Avelanche danger for the 2012-2013 season

I've seen two back injuries, and a broken leg (almost compound) in the last couple of years. Something to think about when gearing up.
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