Avalanche Advisory published on January 17, 2017 @ 6:36 am
Issued by -
bottom line

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on wind loaded, slopes above 7000 feet. Wind slabs remain a concern on upper elevation slopes with recent natural avalanches and the potential for human triggered slabs between a few inches and a few feet thick. Tonight and tomorrow expect to see avalanche danger rise quickly with the approaching wind and snow.

How to read the advisory

  • Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
Avalanche Problem 1: Wind Slab
  • Character ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?
  • Likelihood ?
    Very Likely
  • Size ?
    Very Large

The wind slab problem is fairly widespread on the Northern half of the compass above 7000 feet.  While these slabs are becoming less touchy, some of these slabs are resting on a variety of old snow surfaces ranging from hard wind board to loose, faceted snow.  You are likely to trigger these slabs not only at the ridgelines but in steep terrain below rock faces, in gullies or other confined terrain where the wind blown snow accumulated. 

Over the last week we have toured and traveled into some of the steepest northerly terrain and found wind slab crowns scattered across these slopes. What we also noticed is that most of these slopes that did not run on their own are still untouched by sledders or skiers still so no artificial/ human triggers have been applied yet.  

Overall, you can look at windloaded terrain right now with the great visibility and see the warning signs: rounded, pillowy, sculpted terrain is the norm throughout the northerly terrain, and these features are easy to recognize clues of where the problem areas are right now.  Remember right now, just because you are not seeing recent avalanches on some steep northerly terrain does not mean those slopes are safe...

advisory discussion

Snowmobiler/Snowbiker Travel Restrictions:  a quick reminder that the Granite Mountain Area Closure is now in effect.  In addition there are other areas on the Payette National Forest that are CLOSED to snowmobile traffic including Jughandle Mt east of Jug Meadows, Lick Creek/Lake Fork Drainage (on the right side of the road as you are traveling up canyon), and the area north of Brundage Mt Ski area to junction "V" and along the east side of Brundage snd Sargeant's Mts. with the exception of the Lookout Rd( junction "S").  Please respect these closures and other users recreating in them.  Winter Travel Map(East side)

Payette Avalanche Center is hosting another KNOW BEFORE YOU GO tomorrow night at the Payette National Forest Supervisors Office at 5:30 pm. This is a great way to learn the basics before thinking about heading into avalanche terrain.

There is still room in the Sawtooth Avalanche Center's Motorized Level 1 avalanche class in Fairfield this weekend.  You can email them at for more information or to sign up, stop making excuses.  This is a great class, reasonably priced  with a shortened classroom session and 2 field days jam packed with useful travel, rescue and decision making information.

Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please participate in the creation of our own community avalanche advisory by submitting snow and avalanche conditions. It's okay if you leave some fields blank, just fill out what you know and/or submit photos. You can  also email us at

The Friends of the Payette Avalanche Center (FPAC) needs YOU! We are in desperate need of more user support and financial assistance. The avalanche forecast is not a guaranteed service, and is in jeopardy of dwindling down to only a couple of days a week in the near future. Please help if you can by clicking the DONATE tab above. If you value this life saving information, make a donation or help the FPAC in raising funds for the future.

recent observations

Problem layers have grown over the last few days, and so have the precipitation forecasts for the next round of storms.  Well developed Surface Hoar and widespread development of Near Surface Facets are going to be a MAJOR concern as snow accumulates above them. Today's loud powder will be tomorrows weak layer...

Buried Surface Hoar is Public Enemy number one in the avalanche world, this fragile layer when buried is responsible for more avalanche accidents and deaths than any other type of problem.

CURRENT CONDITIONS Today's Weather Observations From the Granite Weather Station at 7700 ft.:
0600 temperature: 20 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: south-southeast
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: inches

Inverted temperatures again this morning. 21 degrees at Secesh Summit, and the weather station on Granite Mountain is reporting 20. Yesterday Secesh Summit saw a high of 37. 

Today should be another mild day in the upper elevations with clouds and wind building in the late afternoon. High of 33 degrees and winds out of the west-southwest blowing in the 20's by afternoon. The brunt of the storm arrives tonight, and tomorrow looks to be a full on storm day with up to 10 inches of snow falling during the day and winds blowing 30's and gusting into the 40 mph range. More snow and wind on tap for Wednesday night and into Thursday as well.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the NOAA-NWS
McCall Airport at 5021 feet.
  Tuesday Tuesday Night Wednesday
Weather: Patchy fog before noon. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 19. Wind chill values between zero and 10. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph in the afternoon. A 40 percent chance of snow after midnight. Cloudy, with a temperature falling to near 11 by 9pm, then rising to around 23 during the remainder of the night. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible. Snow. High near 34. Southeast wind 6 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.
Temperatures: High 19 deg. F. Low 11 deg. F. High 34 deg. F.
Wind direction: southeast south southeast
Wind speed: calm to 5 5 to calm 6 to 11
Expected snowfall: 0 in. less than 1 in. 2 to 4 in.
Granite Mountain at 7700 feet.
  Tuesday Tuesday Night Wednesday
Weather: Increasing clouds, with a high near 33. Breezy, with a west southwest wind 18 to 24 mph. A 50 percent chance of snow after 11pm. Cloudy, with a low around 21. Windy, with a southwest wind 21 to 31 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible. Snow. High near 32. Windy, with a southwest wind 24 to 29 mph increasing to 31 to 36 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 46 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.
Temperatures: High 33 deg. F. Low 21 deg. F. High 32 deg. F.
Wind direction: west-southwest southwest southwest
Wind speed: 18 to 24 21 to 31 gusting 40 24 to 36 gusting 46
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 1 to 2 in. 4 to 8 in.

This avalanche advisory is provided through a partnership between the Payette National Forest and the Payette Avalanche Center. This advisory covers the West Central Mountains between Hard Butte on the north and Council Mountain on the south. This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires at midnight on the posted day unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.