Likelihood ?CertainVery LikelyLikelyPossible
Size ?HistoricVery LargeLarge
In the Cabinet Mountains Jeff and I found about 6 feet of snow depth on a south aspect on Round Top. The new snow over the rain crust was cold and light at 6,000 feet but graded to wet below 6,000 feet. A good bond existed at the new snow/rain crust interface. We were able to identify some of the old weak layers lower in the pack but they did not shear easily and the crystals were melted. The rain was a bummer but it helped to stabilize our previously weak pack.
Although it was painful for us powderhounds the rain did do one thing besides dampen our spirits. It reset the pack. The Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains received about 7 inches of rain in the period from late Thursday to Saturday. The weak layers we were concerned about are compressed and melted. The basal facets are wet now and should compress under the weight of the rain soaked pack. There is a 10 inch thick rain crust near the surface that, once solidly frozen, should give support over the pack below. There still could be some sour spots in the pack so you'll have to sniff those out in your travels. I would think they are most likely from 4,000 to 5,000 where the pack gets less of a solid freeze. Stay off steep slopes for now in this elevation band if you find unsupportive snow. Once up high we found the sliding and riding to be very good. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!
Yesterday Jeff and I experienced mild conditions with temperatures around freezing, light winds, and light snowfall. Visibility was pea soup. Today looks to be similar with a slight chance of snow, temperatures in the low 20s, and a light southeast wind. With this weather the snowpack will continue to tighten up and the avalanche hazard will decrease.
|0600 temperature:||24 deg. F.|
|Max. temperature in the last 24 hours:||30 deg. F.|
|Average wind direction during the last 24 hours:||NW|
|Average wind speed during the last 24 hours:||5 mph|
|Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours:||5 mph|
|New snowfall in the last 24 hours:||0 inches|
|Total snow depth:||65 inches|
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.
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