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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
January 29, 2015 7:30 am by Scott Savage

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

 

Sawtooth Mountains

Bottom Line: The avalanche danger is LOW. Small wet loose avalanches are possible on sun-exposed slopes if skies remain mostly clear today. At upper elevations, skiers and riders could trigger isolated old, hard wind slabs in steep terrain; watch for areas with shallow snowpacks where weak, faceted snow exists beneath the hard slabs.

Primary Avalanche Problem

Loose Wet   

Aspect/Elevation   

Certain
Unlikely

Chance of Avalanches   

Historic
Small

Size of Avalanches   

Yesterday, direct sunlight (yes, I blew the weather forecast!) moistened the couple inches of new snow, producing several small, wet loose natural avalanches in the Boulder Mountains. The avalanche activity occurred on steep, S-W aspects in alpine terrain and appeared to only involve the new snow. With middle and upper elevation temperatures staying in the lower to mid-20's F all night, the wet surface layers froze solidly.

Today, increasing high cloud cover should make wet avalanches a more isolated and manageable problem. That being said, small wet loose avalanches are possible in steep terrain - especially rocky, alpine areas - if skies remain mostly clear. Any wet loose avalanche activity will follow the sun around the compass: E/SE-facing slopes in the morning, SE/S/SE-facing slopes in early afternoon, and SW/W-facing slopes later in the day. If you're playing or traveling on or below steep, sunny slopes, watch for roller balls, pinwheels, or wet "dribbles" of snow coming off of rocks; move to cooler or gentler terrain if you observe these telltale signs of wet snow instability. The northern Sawtooths received only a trace of new snow recently, making wet loose avalanches less likely in this area.

Additional Discussion: Lingering, weathered wind slabs exist in upper elevation terrain. Skiers triggered one of these slabs well above treeline this weekend on Galena Peak (see photo in Media section). While the hard, old wind slabs are becoming more resistant to triggering, I'd pay attention on very steep alpine slopes that have thin snowpacks and weak, faceted snow beneath the slabs. You're most likely to find this snowpack structure in rocky areas at various elevations in shady alpine cirques. Any triggered slides could be large enough to catch and carry people through rocks, over cliffs, or into terrain traps.

Weather Forecast

Sawtooth Mtns at 9,200'

Last Night
Recorded Past 24 Hours

Today
Expected Through 5pm

Tonight
Expected 5pm - 5am

Temperature

26 F 31 F 22 F

Sky Cover

Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy

Wind Speed

Light Light Light

Wind Direction

SE SE SE

Snowfall

0" 0" 0"

Avalanche Notes

Enter text...

Mountain Weather Summary

Yesterday, the weak storm system dissipated quickly and gave way to clear skies. Mountain temperatures reached the 30's F while generally light NW winds blew on the ridgetops. Overnight, temperature inversions and valley fog developed while mountain locations remained partly cloudy. Temperatures dropped to the single digits in the colder valleys while mountain locations stayed in the lower to mid-20's F. Light ridgetop winds shifted to the SE.

Today, a ridge of high pressure shapes our weather. Expect mostly clear skies to become partly cloudy as high cloud cover increases. Mountain temperatures reach the upper 20's to 30's F and light SE winds blow on the ridgetops.

Tonight, look for partly to mostly cloudy skies, mountain temperatures in the 20's F, and light SE winds. Friday and Saturday should bring continued warm and fair weather.

Sawtooth Mountains

Sawtooth Mtns at 9,200'

Last Night
Recorded Past 24 Hours

Today
Expected Through 5pm

Tonight
Expected 5pm - 5am

Temperature

26 F 31 F 22 F

Sky Cover

Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy

Wind Speed

Light Light Light

Wind Direction

SE SE SE

Snowfall

0" 0" 0"

Smoky & Boulder Mountains

Titus Ridge at 10,000'

Last Night
Recorded Past 24 Hours

Today
Expected Through 5pm

Tonight
Expected 5pm - 5am

Temperature

23 F 29 F 22 F

Sky Cover

Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy

Wind Speed

Light Light Light

Wind Direction

SE SE SE

Snowfall

0" 0" 0"
           

Wood River Valley

Baldy at 9,000'

Last Night
Recorded Past 24 Hours

Today
Expected Through 5pm

Tonight
Expected 5pm - 5am

Temperature

25 F 32 F 24 F

Sky Cover

Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy

Wind Speed

Light Light Light

Wind Direction

S S SE

Snowfall

0" 0" 0"
   

Soldier Mountains

Peak 2 at 9,000'

Last Night
Recorded Past 24 Hours

Today
Expected Through 5pm

Tonight
Expected 5pm - 5am

Temperature

22 F 30 F 24 F

Sky Cover

Partly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy

Wind Speed

Light Light Light

Wind Direction

SE SE SE

Snowfall

0" 0" 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.