Avalanche Advisory published on April 5, 2019 @ 7:43 am
Issued by Dave Bingaman - Payette Avalanche Center
bottom line

The Avalanche Hazard is Moderate today.  The possibility of loose, wet avalanches will be increasing over the next few days as temperatures remain near or above freezing and snow lines fluctuate.  Moderate to strong winds will also begin creating wind slabs later today and through tomorrow.  In addition, cornices are sagging and just beginning to fail.  Avoid travel under large cornices while the temperatures are above freezing.

How to read the advisory

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

Spring is definitely upon us in the West Central Mountains.  With plenty of moisture on tap and warm temps, this is going to be a great weekend to test the water repellency of your gear.

Your best chance of kicking off an avalanche today or seeing natural activity is going to be in mid to lower elevation, steep terrain.  Rain yesterday and overnight will make loose, wet avalanches more likely today as temperatures warm.  Snowlines will be dropping tonight and over the next 24 hours but are forecasted to rise again Sunday above 7000 feet.  Upper elevations will see some snow accumulations through Sunday morning accompanied by gusty S and SW winds.  Stiff, dense windslabs will likely form in the upper elevations. 

Cornices are already starting to fail and many are beginning to sag or droop away from the ridges.  At some point in the near future, these monsters are going to give in to gravity and fail.  Travel on, below or around large cornices should be avoided.

With plenty of snow in the upper elevations, spring skiing and riding should go late this year.  Pay attention to changing spring conditions as the snowpack begins to warm up and enjoy a great spring season.


advisory discussion

PAC is finished with its operations for the season.  Thank you for your observations and everyone that sent in information.  A BIG thanks to the Friends of the PAC for continuing to help fund our operations and keep our equipment maintained, without them we would have been shut down several times this winter.  Also, a big thanks to Brian Peters for stepping up and helping reorganize the FPAC and doing a great job with fundraising efforts this winter!

The Friends of the PAC is seeking additional board members or folks that would like to get involved to help ensure that PAC is funded in the future.  If you would like to get involved please contact Brian Peters at: 406-579-0730 or by email at:

Thanks for a great season! Dave and George


recent observations

Yesterday we finished our our 2019 field season with a tour into the Victor Saddle area, abundant snow has filled in creeks and smoothed out the terrain everywhere. High humidity and mixed precipitation coupled with temps just above the freezing mark made for widespread, small loose/wet avalanches on steeper terrain. 

The snowpack is holding strong with snowmobile and ski penetration at just a few inches in the upper elevations.  Down lower, boot penetration was quite a bit deeper. Cornices were drooping off the ridgelines and will begin to fail soon.  Skiing and sledding conditions were better than expected and travel was very easy on all slopes.  With the warmer weather the trails are starting to get a little ragged and grooming will be shutting down soon.  Enjoy the bonus storm this weekend and a long and safe spring ski and riding season.

Here are 2 photos of Storm Peak from earlier this season and yesterday.  Big lines will be skiing well late this year, take advantage of it!

Jan 15, 2019                                                                               


April 4, 2019


CURRENT CONDITIONS Today's Weather Observations From the Granite Weather Station at 7700 ft.:
0600 temperature: 30 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 33 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: SW
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 4 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 16 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: NA inches
Total snow depth: NA inches

.SHORT TERM...Today through Monday...Showers continue to impact
the area this morning, with a few cloud flashes noted north of the
Treasure Valley. Unsettled conditions remain, as the next
Pacific trough arrives into eastern Oregon this afternoon. Showers
and gusty wind will again move across the area this afternoon and
into the evening as its related cold front progresses eastward.
Models continue to show instability across the Idaho mountains,
with isolated thunderstorms included this afternoon and evening.
Showers related to this system will linger through Saturday
afternoon ahead of the next, weaker trough Saturday afternoon.
Snow levels are expected to drop to around 4000-5000 ft Saturday
afternoon. Showers are expected, with snowfall in the mountains.
Models are not as strong with instability, with thunderstorms not
currently included in the Saturday forecast. A series of troughs
will continue through Monday with afternoon showers expected. The
system on Sunday seems fairly moist and somewhat slow-moving, as
an approaching area of low pressure catches it Monday morning to
potentially enhance showers through the afternoon. Snow levels
steadily rise Sunday and Monday, reaching up to around 8000 ft
south of the Snake Plain. Cooler temperatures expected today and
Saturday in response to the initial system, with warming
temperatures then expected Sunday and Monday.

.LONG TERM...Monday night through Friday...Models are in good
agreement over unsettled conditions throughout the extended. As an
upper low progresses to the southeast mid-week, widespread showers
will continue into Wednesday morning with snow levels near 5000 ft
MSL. Northwest flow amplifies winds Tuesday night into Wednesday
with gusts up to 30 mph possible for much of the area. A stationary
upper ridge over the central Gulf of Alaska will maintain northwest
flow over the region through the rest of the week, lowering
temperatures a few degrees below normal as snow levels drop to
around 4000 ft. Widespread showers will linger as conditions remain
unsettled through the period.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the NOAA-NWS
McCall Airport at 5021 feet.
  Friday Friday Night Saturday
Weather: Showers likely, mainly after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47. Calm wind becoming south southwest 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 60% Showers, mainly before midnight. Low around 29. South southwest wind 5 to 7 mph becoming calm after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 80%. A chance of snow showers before noon, then a chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 43. Calm wind becoming south southwest 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Temperatures: 47 deg. F. 29 deg. F. 43 deg. F.
Wind direction: S/SW S/SW S/SW
Wind speed: 5-8 5-7 5-9
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
Granite Mountain at 7700 feet.
  Friday Friday Night Saturday
Weather: Snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 35. South wind 7 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible. Snow showers. Low around 23. South wind 7 to 13 mph becoming west after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible. A 40 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 30. South southwest wind 6 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Temperatures: 35 deg. F. 23 deg. F. 30 deg. F.
Wind direction: S S S/SW
Wind speed: 7-13 Gusts to 22 7-13, Gusts to 22 6-14, Gusts to 26
Expected snowfall: Trace in. 1-3 in. Trace 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.