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Avalanche Danger Rose: this graphic represents an avalanche forecaster's idea of how the avalanche danger exists across the topography in a given region. It is not a map...it is an idea. Picture it as a cone-shaped mountain viewed from above, built of three elevation bands; the outer ring represents low elevations, the middle ring represents middle elevations, and the innermost circle represents high elevations. Each elevation band is divided into sectors that represent the slope aspect (N-NE-E-SE-S-SW-W-NW). Each sector\'s color represents the avalanche danger rating assigned that day (see Avalanche Danger Scale).

In this example, the Avalanche Danger Rose depicts an avalanche danger rating of considerable on all high elevation aspects and on north to west-facing mid elevations; all other sectors possess moderate avalanche danger. The illustration depicts the spatial distribution of this forecast across a landscape.
X Loose Wet: Loose wet avalanches release at a point and spread downhill in a conical fashion. They occur where water is running through the snowpack, and release at or below the trigger point. They can be deadly on steep and/or treed slopes and around terrain traps such as cliffs and gullies.
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Avalanche Problem Rose: this graphic represents an avalanche forecaster's idea of the distribution of a particular avalanche problem across the topography in a given region. Picture it as a cone-shaped mountain viewed from above, built of three elevation bands; the outer ring represents low elevations, the middle ring represents middle elevations, and the innermost circle represents high elevations. Each elevation band is divided into sectors that represent the slope aspect (N-NE-E-SE-S-SW-W-NW). Sectors colored grey are thought to have the identified avalanche problem while white sectors do not.

In this example, the Avalanche Problem Rose indicates that a particular avalanche concern exists on all high elevation aspects and on north to west-facing mid elevations and that this concern is far less likely to be encountered on other aspects and elevations.
X Chance of Avalanches: This graphic depicts how likely you are to trigger avalanches or encounter natural avalanches while traveling on avalanche prone slopes. Unlikely means that few avalanches could be triggered in avalanche terrain and natural avalanches are not expected. The chance of triggering or observing avalanches increases as we move up the scale. Certain means that humans will be able to trigger avalanches on many slopes, and natural avalanches should be expected.
X Size of Avalanches: This graphic depicts the potential size and destructive force of expected avalanches. Small avalanches are not large enough to bury humans and are relatively harmless unless they carry people over cliffs or through trees or rocks. Moving up the scale, avalanches become large enough to bury, injure, or kill people, large enough to bury or destroy vehicles and break a few trees, and large enough to destroy railway cars, buildings, or a substantial amount of forest. Historic avalanches are massive events capable of destroying villages and gouging or altering the landscape.
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LOW: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

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

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CONSIDERABLE: Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential.

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HIGH: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.

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EXTREME: Avoid all avalanche terrain.

Current Advisory
March 28, 2015 7:30 am by Lisa Portune

All Zones | Sawtooth Mountains | Smoky & Boulder Mountains | Wood River Valley | Soldier Mountains

 

Sawtooth Mountains

Bottom Line: The avalanche danger is MODERATE on steep E-S-W facing slopes, in all alpine terrain, and on north-facing middle elevation slopes. Several nights of near or above freezing temperatures will make human-triggered wet loose avalanches possible on some steep slopes. Rain falling on shady middle elevation slopes may cause natural wet slides this morning. Skiers and riders can also trigger pockets of fresh wind slab near ridgelines in upper elevation terrain.

Primary Avalanche Problem

Loose Wet   

Aspect/Elevation   

Certain
Unlikely

Chance of Avalanches   

Historic
Small

Size of Avalanches   

Yesterday was downright tropical, and as expected, I saw many natural wet loose avalanches. Most were confined to alpine cirques where more than 6 inches of new snow fell earlier this week.

Strong winds, partial cloud cover, and cooler temps today should limit any natural wet loose avalanche activity; however, most mountain locations stayed well above freezing last night for the second night in a row. And if we get more rain than forecast, we could see some natural wet slides on steep, shady middle elevation terrain. You may find some wet snow issues later this afternoon on steep E-S-W facing slopes where the surface snow is saturated. Areas to watch out for are slopes below cliff bands or rock faces where the snowpack is shallow and wet to the ground. If you find yourself punching deep into the snowpack, move to cooler more supportable slopes.

Additional Discussion: Strong westerly winds today may form pockets of wind slab near ridgetops. While there isn't a whole lot of remaining light dry snow to move around, due north aspects up high still harbor some transportable snow. You could trigger a wind slab if you see cracking under your skis, board, or sled or anywhere the wind is actively moving snow.

Weather Forecast

Sawtooth Mtns at 9,200'

Last Night
Recorded Past 24 Hours

Today
Expected Through 5pm

Tonight
Expected 5pm - 5am

Temperature

40 F 42 F 25 F

Sky Cover

Partly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy Partly Cloudy

Wind Speed

Light Strong Moderate

Wind Direction

S W W

Snowfall

0" trace" 0"

Avalanche Notes

Enter text...

Mountain Weather Summary

Yesterday was a phenomenal day to be outside as valley temps hit the mid to upper 60's F under perfect sunny skies. Mountain temperatures climbed to the upper 40's and 50's F while winds were generally light out of the S and W. Overnight, a few clouds moved in, but temperatures stayed well above freezing in many mountain locations for the second night in a row. Currently this morning temps range from the mid 30's to mid 40's F at middle and upper elevations.

Today, a cold front will bring a chance of light rain and snow showers, mainly to the northern zones. The big story will be the strong winds. Already this morning we are seeing 15-25 mph ridgetop winds with gusts in the 30's out of the S/SW. Winds will shift more to the W/NW later today as the cold front passes and decrease slightly by evening. Mountain temps will be cooler than yesterday, topping out in the 40's F.

Tonight, skies clear, winds diminish, and mountain temps drop to the 20's F. Sunday and Monday look to be warm and dry once again.

Sawtooth Mountains

Sawtooth Mtns at 9,200'

Last Night
Recorded Past 24 Hours

Today
Expected Through 5pm

Tonight
Expected 5pm - 5am

Temperature

40 F 42 F 25 F

Sky Cover

Partly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy Partly Cloudy

Wind Speed

Light Strong Moderate

Wind Direction

S W W

Snowfall

0" trace" 0"

Smoky & Boulder Mountains

Titus Ridge at 10,000'

Last Night
Recorded Past 24 Hours

Today
Expected Through 5pm

Tonight
Expected 5pm - 5am

Temperature

39 F 41 F 22 F

Sky Cover

Partly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy Partly Cloudy

Wind Speed

Light Strong Moderate

Wind Direction

W W NW

Snowfall

0" trace" 0"
           

Wood River Valley

Baldy at 9,000'

Last Night
Recorded Past 24 Hours

Today
Expected Through 5pm

Tonight
Expected 5pm - 5am

Temperature

40 F 43 F 27 F

Sky Cover

Clear Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy

Wind Speed

Light Strong Moderate

Wind Direction

S W NW

Snowfall

0" trace" 0"
   

Soldier Mountains

Peak 2 at 9,000'

Last Night
Recorded Past 24 Hours

Today
Expected Through 5pm

Tonight
Expected 5pm - 5am

Temperature

38 F 40 F 25 F

Sky Cover

Clear Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy

Wind Speed

Light Strong Moderate

Wind Direction

W W NW

Snowfall

0" trace" 0"
           

General Information

Your observations remain invaluable! Please let us know what you're seeing in the backcountry, especially if you see or trigger any avalanches. You can email us photos and observations at info@sawtoothavalanche.com, fill out the Observations form on our website, or leave a message at 208-622-0095.