Avalanche Advisory published on December 10, 2019 @ 5:17 am
This Avalanche Advisory expires in 8 hours, 59 minutes
This advisory is valid for 24 hours
Issued by Ben Bernall - Kootenai National Forest

Kootenai

bottom line

Minimal snow coverage at lower elevations will result in minimal avalanche concern below treeline. Above 6,500' in elevation there exists a possibility to trigger avalanches in steep and open terrain. Use caution and practice safe travel habits in these locations.

How to read the advisory

Minimal snow coverage at lower elevations will result in minimal avalanche concern below treeline. Above 6,500' in elevation there exists a possibility to trigger avalanches in steep and open terrain. Use caution and practice safe travel habits in these locations.

2. Moderate

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

No Rating

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Near Treeline

No Rating

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Below Treeline
    Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
Avalanche Problem 1: Persistent Slab
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    Certain
    Very Likely
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Stability tests are showing the possibility to trigger a weak layer of sugary snow (facets) between two crust layers. This weakness lies approximately 16 inches below the current snow surface in high alpine terrain. 



Pit results at 6,700' on NE Aspect in East Cabinets.

advisory discussion

On December 9th we took a tour into the East Cabinets to look at upper elevation snowpack. Below treeline we found ample opportunity to hit rocks, logs and other solid objects with our skis. At lower elevations there is just simply too much vegetation and not enough snow to cause an avalanche concern right now. Above 6,500' the coverage is good enough to make some turns if you are willing and ambitious enough to get there. It is above this mark where you will also find enough snow to cause an avalanche problem. What we are currently seeing at the base of the snowpack is a sandwich of crusts and weak sugary layers that may be difficult for a human to trigger. These layers will likely be slow to heal and are worth watching as we progress through the winter. These crusts and facets are likely to become a problem with significant loading or drastic changes in weather. Stay tuned and think snow!

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
weather summary
Backcountry Forecast from NWS Missoula issued:
240 PM MST Mon Dec 9 2019
DISCUSSION: A northwest flow pattern will develop over the 
Northern Rockies today, and remain in place through the first half
of the week. Light mountain snow showers are typically the result
of this type of weather pattern, with mostly light accumulations 
expected. Otherwise, mostly cloudy conditions are expected, 
specifically for the mid elevations and lower as a stratus deck 
settles in. A shortwave trough will move through the flow Tuesday 
night and Wednesday, that will help to further enhance snow 
showers. A few inches of snow will be possible in the mountains 
during this period.

Kootenai:
--------------------------- 5000-7000 FT ----------------------------
                      Tonight      Tue          Tue Night    Wed      
Cloud Cover           60%          85%          80%          75%      
Hi/Lo Temps           15 to 24     25 to 31     22 to 27     25 to 31 
Winds(mph)            W 10G25      SW 11G25     SW 13G31     SW 13G29 
Precip Chc            0            0            40           10       
Precip Type           none         none         sno/shr      sno/shr  
Liquid Amt            0.00         0.00         0.06         0.01     
Snow Ratio(SLR)       0            0            14:1         16:1     
Snow Amt(in)          0            0            1-2          0        

Snow Level            2000         2000         2000         2000     
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.

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