They don't call it persistent for nothing.
A relatively widespread layer of surface hoar and near surface facets is now laying below one to two feet of snow. This layer developed over the high pressure (clear skies) previous to last weeks dump. While out, continue to dig down and look for this 'grey' looking line in the snowpack. We are finding it on east, northeast, north, northwest, and west aspects in middle elevations and in higher areas that were protected from the winds that accompanied last weeks storm. Where are you finding it, or better yet, not finding it? We want to know!
Surface Hoar and faceted snow layers are responsible for more avalanche accidents and fatalities than all other types of avalanches combined.
While I am gaining a little bit of confidence in it's strength (failure of weak layer is harder to initiate in compression test), I am still very weary of the weak layers energy and ability to propagate (see Dave's video of propagation saw test) Until we can gain some confidence in this layer (no new natural or human triggered avalanches), you should continue to keep this problem as your top concern and talk about it with your backcountry partners.
The picture below shows a close up of the surface hoar layer at the height of the saw. Contest: First person to send a picture/observation of surface hoar in our current snowpack gets a free FRIENDS OF PAYETTE AVALANCHE CENTER t-shirt!
Winds out of the northeast reached 30 mph over the last 24 hours at our Granite Mountain weather station. These winds combined with light density snow available for transport, have caused yet another new layer of fresh (touchy/easy to trigger) wind slabs. Combined with the variable winds from the last week, be on the lookout for wind slabs on most all aspects in the upper elevations.
Lurking below the new wind affected snow, still lingers older stiffer (harder to trigger) wind slabs. Be conscious of the ability of these older slabs to 'step down' into older layers of snow, and even cause a failure of our buried persistent weak layers. If this scenario played out it could cause for a large, possibly fatal avalanche.
Evaluate terrain choices carefully today. Use safe travel protocols...Or better yet, stay away from slopes over 30 degrees and enjoy the fresh powder on low angle slopes and in the meadows.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 and Sergeants' 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). You can download the map to the AVENZA app on your phone, and know your exact location while you are out riding.
|0600 temperature:||11 deg. F.|
|Max. temperature in the last 24 hours:||16 deg. F.|
|Average wind direction during the last 24 hours:||NE|
|Average wind speed during the last 24 hours:||9 mph|
|Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours:||30 mph|
|New snowfall in the last 24 hours:||0 inches|
|Total snow depth:||inches|
No new snow overnight. Today it will be mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers before 11 am, and a high near 16. Wind chill values between -2 and 4. North wind 11 to 18 mph. Less than a .5 inch of snow could fall this morning. Next forecasted precip is Thursday, with only an inch or two. High pressure is still on tap for the weekend.
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.