THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON February 22, 2020 @ 6:19 am
Avalanche Advisory published on February 21, 2020 @ 6:19 am
Issued by Dave Bingaman - Payette Avalanche Center
bottom line

The Avalanche Hazard today is Moderate above 7000 feet on wind loaded slopes steeper than 30 degrees.  Variable winds have created small wind slabs on multiple upper elevation slopes that may be sensitve to the weight of a skier or snowmobiler.  Depending on your aspect, small loose avalanches are possible also, especially on solar slopes near exposed rocks that are warming the snowpack nearby. 

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

Despite the fact we haven't seen any new snow in a few days, there is still plenty of soft snow to be moved around by the wind right now.  Variable winds over the last 3 days have created small, thin wind slabs on exposed upper elevation slopes.  Snowmobilers on the East side of Council Mt. were able to isolate one of these slabs yesterday.  We observed active loading and wind affected snow on multiple aspects in nearly all of the Northern and Eastern terrain yesterday.    Watch for changes in the density of the snow surface as you travel and obvious visual clues like ripples, drifts or partially covered old tracks to help identify potential wind slab or wind loaded slopes.  

Cornices are also getting large and are overhanging quite a bit in some areas.  Avoid traveling near the edges of corniced ridge lines.  Big cornices are unpredictable and can break further back than you expect.


advisory discussion

The Friends of the Payette Avalanche Center's Annual Fundraiser is this coming Friday, Februrary 21st at Banyons clubhouse on the McCall golf course. This year we will have a Silent Auction and Choose your own raffle prizes!  Live music by Jughandle Parade from 6-9!  Our goal this year is to raise $5000. which will go directly into additional forecasts for next season, our future forecasters scholarships and providing more Avalanche Awareness classes.  Tickets will be sold at the door.  $10.00 gets you in the doors with a raffle ticket.  Come on out and help make this years fundraiser this biggest yet!!

*Skiers and Snowmobiliers, the Granite Mountain closure went is in effect from January 15-March 31. Please respect Brundage Catski terrain closures which are CLEARLY marked on the west side of Goose Lake.  There is a shared use route at the northern end of the closure to allow access to Granite Mt Lookout and the upper east face of Granite Mt.  Additionally, public motorized use of ANY other Catski road is not permitted, including the roads between Brundage Reservoir and the East side of the Goose Lake Road in the Slab Butte and 76 areas. Please respect closed roads and areas and only ride on open roads and in open terrain.  There are also other areas that are closed to snowmobiling in the West Central Mountains. Click here for the Payette National Forest Winter Travel Map.

*Note to skiers accessing Jughandle Mountain from Silver Fox Trail.  Please park in signed areas only. Blocking or narrowing the road could result in loss of access to this area, ticketing or towing by Valley County.  There is NO parking allowed on the East side of the road or in the snowplow turnaround.  If you can't park in the signed area, park further down the road in a place where you are not obstructing traffic.

recent observations

Yesterday on Council Mountain and surrounding areas, we found perfect riding conditions and easy climbing for sleds.  Winds were blowing out of the SE most of the day and easily transporting the light density snow into leeward terrain.  We found mostly stable conditions with a few exceptions, we observed a couple of dry, loose snow avalanches on shady terrain and saw a recently triggered wind slab in a small, wind loaded pocket near the ridgeline in upper Buck's Basin.   Our pit tests showed some instability in the upper foot of the snowpack in 2 layers of recently deposited grauple.  We could not get either of these layers to propagate. Overall, it is a great time to get out and take advantage of mostly stable conditions, bluebird weather conditions, soft snow and easy travel conditions.  Pay attention to the obvious clues of windloading and avoid your exposure on or below big cornices.  As temps warm,  cornices tend to fail.











CURRENT CONDITIONS Today's Weather Observations From the Granite Weather Station at 7700 ft.:
0600 temperature: 19 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 26 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: ESE
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 5 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 15 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: NA inches

SHORT TERM...Today through Sunday night...Weak high pressure
aloft will maintain the dry weather and mostly clear skies through
Saturday. A weak upper disturbance on Sunday followed by a cold
front Sunday night will be accompanied by showers, which will
favor the higher elevations in the north. Snow levels will rise to
4000-5000 feet ahead of the front through Sunday evening,
lowering to 3000-4000 feet behind the front late Sunday night.
Light snow accumulations are expected in the northern mountains.
Gusty winds will accompany the front. Temperatures will trend a
few degrees warmer each day.

.LONG TERM...Monday through Friday...Upper level ridge will
dominate the region through the extended period keeping the region
dry. Temperatures will be a couple degrees above normal.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the NOAA-NWS
McCall Airport at 5021 feet.
  Friday Friday Night Saturday
Weather: Sunny, with a high near 34. Calm wind. Mostly clear, with a low around 18. Calm wind. Sunny, with a high near 38. Calm wind.
Temperatures: 34 deg. F. 18 deg. F. 38 deg. F.
Wind direction: Calm Calm Calm
Wind speed: Calm Calm Calm
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
Granite Mountain at 7700 feet.
  Friday Friday Night Saturday
Weather: Sunny, with a high near 26. South southeast wind around 6 mph. Mostly clear, with a low around 16. South wind 5 to 7 mph. Sunny, with a high near 28. South southwest wind around 6 mph.
Temperatures: 26 deg. F. 16 deg. F. 28 deg. F.
Wind direction: SSE S SSE
Wind speed: 6 5-7 6
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 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.