THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON January 26, 2019 @ 6:14 am
Avalanche Advisory published on January 25, 2019 @ 6:14 am
Issued by Kevin Davis - Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center

Selkirks/Cabinets

bottom line

The mid-elevation danger rating is moderate with pockets of considerable because of a buried surface hoar layer we found only on sheltered north and east aspects in the 5,500-6,000 foot range.  Other weak layers were associated with the more recent snowfall and were failing in the upper foot of snowpack on all aspects that we tested.  West winds may be building touchy slabs up high on easterly aspects.

How to read the advisory

Selkirks/Cabinets

How to read the advisory

The mid-elevation danger rating is moderate with pockets of considerable because of a buried surface hoar layer we found only on sheltered north and east aspects in the 5,500-6,000 foot range.  Other weak layers were associated with the more recent snowfall and were failing in the upper foot of snowpack on all aspects that we tested.  West winds may be building touchy slabs up high on easterly aspects.

2. Moderate

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Above Treeline
Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.

2. Moderate

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Near Treeline
Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.

1. Low

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Below Treeline
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
    Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
Avalanche Problem 1: Storm Slab
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The weak layers in the old storm slab that built up Sunday night were the weakest layers we found yesterday.  In shear tests on all aspects we tested these were the weakest failures in the unconsolidated storm snow.  The cold temperatures have not allowed the crystals to breakdown and bond well, although just enough sun has allowed southerly aspects to bond.  Be cautious on steep northerly and easterly aspects where you could trigger a small slide that could get you moving in a direction you don't want to go.   

Avalanche Problem 3: Wind Slab
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Westerly winds were strong up at the ridgetops where Dan and I were at the upper lake yesterday.  We could see wind transporting snow to easterly aspects at the ridgetops.  Winds coming through notches and saddles were depositing snow further down on the slope so pay attention to the terrain.  Look for new cornice development to indicate where windslabs may be and stay clear of cornices on the ridgetops.

advisory discussion

Avalanche class today at the Forest Service building in Sandpoint.  Field portion of the class conducted in the backcountry of Schweitzer on Saturday and Sunday.  Check out the Friends of IPAC Facebook page for a video of what we found in the Selkirks yesterday.

recent observations

We did not see any natural avalanches yesterday but I did see some areas where the snow failed on a weak layer and cracks were visible in the snow.  This was on a sheltered north aspect and I believe it was a failed buried surface hoar layer.  Sheltered pockets on smaller slopes may catch you off guard so watch for these areas closely.  Winds may have built up slabs on more exposed lee aspects up high so watch the big faces for this problem.

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
weather summary

Sounds like a nice day  in the mountains.  Temperature reaching to 28 for a high with NW winds at 14-18 turning SW by the afternoon.  Gusts could be into the 20s.  A slight chance of snow but it could be a beautiful day above the dreary clouds stuck in the valley.

Weather observations from the Region
0600 temperature: 26 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 26 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: NW
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 6 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 10 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: 77 inches
Disclaimer

Avalanche conditions change for better or worse continually. Backcountry travelers should be prepared to assess current conditions for themselves, plan their routes of travel accordingly, and never travel alone. Backcountry travelers can reduce their exposure to avalanche hazards by utilizing timbered trails and ridge routes and by avoiding open and exposed terrain with slope angles of 30 degrees or more. Backcountry travelers should carry the necessary avalanche rescue equipment such as a shovel, avalanche probe or probe ski poles, a rescue beacon and a well-equipped first aid kit.  For a recorded version of the Avalanche Advisory call (208)765-7323.