THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON December 17, 2019 @ 6:59 pm
Avalanche Advisory published on December 16, 2019 @ 6:59 pm
Issued by Eric Morgan - Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center

Selkirks/Cabinets

bottom line

Shallow snowpack with hollow facets close to the ground and a few surface hoar layers in the upper half of the pack.  Upper elevations with steep and open terrain is where one has the greatest chance to trigger an avalanche currently.  However be aware of how the storms stack up later in the week and what the upper pack becomes ontop of existing persistent weak layers.

How to read the advisory

Selkirks/Cabinets

How to read the advisory

Shallow snowpack with hollow facets close to the ground and a few surface hoar layers in the upper half of the pack.  Upper elevations with steep and open terrain is where one has the greatest chance to trigger an avalanche currently.  However be aware of how the storms stack up later in the week and what the upper pack becomes ontop of existing persistent weak layers.

2. Moderate

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

1. Low

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Near Treeline
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

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: Persistent Slab
  • Type ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?
  • Likelihood ?
    Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
  • Size ?
    Historic
    Very Large
    Large
    Small

Upper elevations and steep open terrain are the areas where one could get things to slide.  The pack is still pretty shallow.  Now is a good time to start studying the pack and watching how things change and react to future storms.  We have three persistent weak layers with an atmospheric river heading our way starting TOMORROW.  Hollow facets on the bottom and buried surface hoar within.   Don't get caught during quick changes to the pack.  Time will heal.

advisory discussion

Big changes ahead....lot's of weakness but potential for alot of snow to get us caught up in snowpack.  This has potential to heal up our weak layers but in the thick of it things could be touchy.  

recent observations

On a West aspect in the Selkirks I found three feet of snow not much different than the past week.  Good sliding conditions down to 5300 foot elevation.  No propagation but alot of weak layers.  There was not much of a slab where I was but windslabs exist in unsheltered areas.  Only one surface hoar layer popped out for me and basal facets are widespread.  On a north face there's a little more snow and two layers of buried surface hoar within.  But currently there was not much of a slab on top as the snow was pretty nice and soft.  

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
weather summary

Sunny becoming cloudy with temperatures in the low 20's and SW winds 21 mph.  The next significant precipitation is expected to arrive Wednesday evening and to continue into the weekend with an atmospheric river.  Read in to the noaa discussions for in depth detail on this event and consider what it means to you. 

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.