Chilkat Pass – Winter Storm Warning

Issued: Sat, Dec 08, 2018 at 9PM

Expires: Mon, Dec 10, 2018

...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS 
IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM AKST SUNDAY...

Above 2,500ft High

1,500 to 2,500ft High

Below 1,500ft High

Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?

1. Low
2. Moderate
3. Considerable
4. High
5. Extreme

Avalanche Danger Rose ?

Avalanche Problems ?

Problem Details

Problem #1: Storm Snow

Heavy precipitation and southerly winds have increased the avalanche danger to high - traveling in avalanche terrain is NOT recommended. The forecasted precipitation will not bond well with the old snow surface. Look for signs of natural avalanche activity and stay out of avalanche run-out zones. With 12-18" of snow forecast tonight and more beyond that, the avalanche danger is likely to persist and produce large and deep avalanches as storm total accumulation increases.

Problem #2: Wind Slab

A strong southerly flow indicates that wind slabs that formed following the November 25-26th storm event on south through east aspects are now under even more stress - due to additional snow load. Beware that current wind speed and direction are heavily loading north through west aspects that are now susceptible to rapid transport. These slabs are likely to continue to be a problem as storm snowfall totals increase and wind deposits form a hard slab on top of weak snow.

Further details:

Snow-levels will to range between 2,000 - 3,000ft over the next couple days with the storm, and more precipitation is forecasted in the week to come. Expect rain at lower elevations and a warm temperature regime to produce complicated travel in avalanche terrain. 

 

Recent Avalanche Activity

Widespread avalanche cycle began early Saturday morning with heavy precipitation, rising temperatures, and moderate to strong winds. Expect heavy new snow to produce heightened avalanche activity as it loads weak/facetted snow from the prior cold, dry spell over the November 25/26th rain crust. 

 

 

Recent Weather

We had a very wet October and November, with snow levels about 1,000ft above average, near 3500ft. Above that level there was good accumulation, with almost nothing below it. December has started off with some drier and cooler weather that today turned wet and windy. 

   Snow Depth [in] Last 24-hr Snow/SWE [in] Last 3-days Snow/SWE [in]  Today's Freezing Level [ft]  Today's Winds Next 24-hr Snow/SWE
Mount Ripinsky @ treeline
10" N/A  N/A 2500 moderate 12"/ 1.20 *
Flower Mountain @ treeline
24" 13" / 1.30 0" / 0.00 2500 moderate 16"/ 1.60 *
Chilkat Pass @ 3,100ft
 12" >5" / 0.50  0" / 0.00 2500 moderate, E 16"/ 1.60 *

( *star means meteorological estimate )

Additional Info & Media

If you get out riding, please send in an observation!

Start the season with fresh batteries in your beacon, and do a rescue practice with your partners. Always carry a beacon, shovel, and probe, and KNOW HOW TO USE THEM.

Practice good risk management, which means only expose one person at a time to slopes 30 degrees and steeper, make group communication and unanimous decision making a priority, and choose your terrain wisely: eliminating unnecessary exposure and planning out your safe zones and escape routes.

Posted in Chilkat Pass Forecasts.

Issued: Mon, Nov 19, 2018 at 8AM

Expires: Mon, Nov 19, 2018

Regular updates for this zone will begin as soon as snow coverage increases and we start getting in more reports from the public. If you get out riding, please send in an observation! Until then, please check the Chilkat Pass zone forecast, as it is being updated regularly.

Above 2,500ft None

1,500 to 2,500ft None

Below 1,500ft None

Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?

1. Low
2. Moderate
3. Considerable
4. High
5. Extreme

Avalanche Danger Rose ?

Avalanche Problems ?

Problem Details

Avalanche season is here! Coverage is good above 3,500ft, and people have been skiing/riding. Nadahini area is currently the most rideable area. Snow depths above 4,000ft are between 20-120cm, with the deepest snow on sheltered north aspects.

Remember that it's full-on avalanche season and layers already exist within the new snow. Standard caution would advise avoiding wind loaded slopes 30 degrees and steeper. If you choose to venture onto these slopes, carefully evaluate them. Consider failure and propagation potential on our mid-pack rain crusts, and how well bonded any storm layers are. Are there wind slabs that react and slide around? Hand shears, compression tests, and slope tests will be very useful.

As any new snow comes in, expect the fresh storm snow to be unstable for at least a few days until it has a chance to settle and bond.

Start the season with fresh batteries in your beacon, and do a rescue practice with your partners. Always carry a beacon, shovel, and probe, and KNOW HOW TO USE THEM.

Practice good risk management, which means only expose one person at a time to slopes 30 degrees and steeper, make group communication and unanimous decision making a priority, and choose your terrain wisely: eliminating unnecessary exposure and planning out your safe zones and escape routes.

Recent Avalanche Activity

Natural wet slabs, storm slabs, and loose slides have been occurring during recent storms, all size D2-D3. Most of these have been occurring on steep, wind loaded north aspects above 4,500ft. In areas of slick ground or bare rock/unsupported slopes, some of these slides failed at the ground.

Recent Weather

We had a very wet October, with snow levels about 1,000ft above average, near 3500ft. Above that level there was good accumulation, with almost nothing below it. This trend has continued so far into November. This last week brought heavy precipitation in the Lutak and Transitional zones, but sadly snow levels rose to near 5,000ft Sunday night. A cooling trend is beginning, with snow levels beginning to drop towards 1500ft by Tuesday.

   Snow Depth [in] Last 24-hr Snow/SWE [in] Last 3-days Snow/SWE [in]  Today's Freezing Level [ft]  Today's Winds Next 24-hr Snow/SWE
Mount Ripinsky @ treeline
6" 0" / 0.10 7" / 1.75 4,500 -> 3,000 light, SE 0"/ 0.80 *
Flower Mountain @ treeline
 6" 0" / 0.10 4" / 0.50 4,500 -> 3,000 light, SE 0"/ 0.40 *
Chilkat Pass @ 3,100ft
 1" 0" / 0.10  0.5" / 0.15  4,500 -> 3,000 mod, SE 1"/ 0.30 *

( *star means meteorological estimate )

Additional Info & Media

Posted in Transitional Zone Forecasts.

Issued: Mon, Nov 19, 2018 at 8AM

Expires: Mon, Nov 19, 2018

Regular updates for this zone will begin as soon as snow coverage increases and we start getting in more reports from the public. If you get out riding, please send in an observation! Until then, please check the Chilkat Pass zone forecast, as it is being updated regularly.

Above 2,500ft None

1,500 to 2,500ft None

Below 1,500ft None

Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?

1. Low
2. Moderate
3. Considerable
4. High
5. Extreme

Avalanche Danger Rose ?

Avalanche Problems ?

Problem Details

Avalanche season is here! Coverage is good above 3,500ft, and people have been skiing/riding. Nadahini area is currently the most rideable area. Snow depths above 4,000ft are between 20-120cm, with the deepest snow on sheltered north aspects.

Remember that it's full-on avalanche season and layers already exist within the new snow. Standard caution would advise avoiding wind loaded slopes 30 degrees and steeper. If you choose to venture onto these slopes, carefully evaluate them. Consider failure and propagation potential on our mid-pack rain crusts, and how well bonded any storm layers are. Are there wind slabs that react and slide around? Hand shears, compression tests, and slope tests will be very useful.

As any new snow comes in, expect the fresh storm snow to be unstable for at least a few days until it has a chance to settle and bond.

Start the season with fresh batteries in your beacon, and do a rescue practice with your partners. Always carry a beacon, shovel, and probe, and KNOW HOW TO USE THEM.

Practice good risk management, which means only expose one person at a time to slopes 30 degrees and steeper, make group communication and unanimous decision making a priority, and choose your terrain wisely: eliminating unnecessary exposure and planning out your safe zones and escape routes.

Recent Avalanche Activity

Natural wet slabs, storm slabs, and loose slides have been occurring during recent storms, all size D2-D3. Most of these have been occurring on steep, wind loaded north aspects above 4,500ft. In areas of slick ground or bare rock/unsupported slopes, some of these slides failed at the ground.

Recent Weather

We had a very wet October, with snow levels about 1,000ft above average, near 3500ft. Above that level there was good accumulation, with almost nothing below it. This trend has continued so far into November. This last week brought heavy precipitation in the Lutak and Transitional zones, but sadly snow levels rose to near 5,000ft Sunday night. A cooling trend is beginning, with snow levels beginning to drop towards 1500ft by Tuesday.

   Snow Depth [in] Last 24-hr Snow/SWE [in] Last 3-days Snow/SWE [in]  Today's Freezing Level [ft]  Today's Winds Next 24-hr Snow/SWE
Mount Ripinsky @ treeline
6" 0" / 0.10 7" / 1.75 4,500 -> 3,000 light, SE 0"/ 0.80 *
Flower Mountain @ treeline
 6" 0" / 0.10 4" / 0.50 4,500 -> 3,000 light, SE 0"/ 0.40 *
Chilkat Pass @ 3,100ft
 1" 0" / 0.10  0.5" / 0.15  4,500 -> 3,000 mod, SE 1"/ 0.30 *

( *star means meteorological estimate )

Additional Info & Media

Posted in Lutak Forecasts.

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Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Haines Avalanche Center
PO Box 665
Haines, AK
99827

 

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Haines Avalanche Center

Sharing information to provide a safer backcountry experience for locals and visitors to Haines.

We provide regular backcountry avalanche forecasts for three zones:

Lutak Zone: Includes mount Ripinsky, point 3920, 7-mile saddle, Chilly ridge, Tukgahgo mountain, bowls and peaks surrounding Lutak inlet and lower Chilkoot lake, city of Haines, and mount Riley
Transitional Zone: Includes Takhin ridge, Old Faithful, Flower mountain, Surgeon mountain, Four Winds mountain
Chilkat Pass Zone: Includes 5-mile creek, 3-Guardsmen, Mineral mountain, Copper butte, Inspector peak, Nadahini mountain/glacier, and Kusawak peak

 

Haines Forecast Zones:

Staff & Volunteers


Erik Stevens

Forecaster and Director

Erik mentored hundreds of backcountry riders during four years as the president of Backcountry Club at the University of Colorado – Boulder, where he also taught Avalanche Level 1. College for Erik was a balance between charting new ski descents on obscure peaks, and hard work to complete his master’s degree in Remote Sensing, Earth, and Space Sciences, with certificates in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Oceanography. He holds his Level 3 Certification from the American Avalanche Institute, and his AIARE Avalanche Level II certification. He's a Professional Member of the American Avalanche Association and he continually supplements his training through ongoing professional development and mentorship. He has been a ski guide for Alaska Mountain Guides, an educator teaching Avalanche safety courses for DPS and the Haines school, and a forecaster with 8 seasons of experience in Haines. Erik spent two years working on operational forecasting research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and one year at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science, researching climate model sensitivity to global ocean processes. He moved to Haines, Alaska in 2010, where he founded the Haines Avalanche Information Center. He is obsessed with snow, passionate about backcountry riding, and can be found on his splitboard throughout Alaska’s winter wilderness.

Jeff Moskowitz

Education Director, Field Technician

Jeff grew up downhill skiing with his family at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada in 1994. He has since then skied throughout the Canadian Rockies, Utah, Washington, Colorado, and Alaska. While pursuing a geography degree at the University of Colorado, Boulder he joined the Backcountry Club staff, a student organization for backcountry riders in 2006. He took a Level II course with the America Institute of Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) in 2009 and shortly thereafter began teaching Avalanche Level 1 for the Outdoor Program at the University of Colorado. Jeff moved to what he now considers home Haines, Alaska in 2010. Here he continues his passion for backcountry skiing and avalanche safety with the Haines Avalanche Center and contributes heavily to forecasts and local observations since the center's founding. With annual grants from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Alaska State Trooper, he has been a public educator on snow travel and backcountry preparedness, in both the communities of Haines and Skagway since 2013. Jeff served on the executive board of directors for the Alaska Avalanche Information Center (AAIC) for two years and has attended recent professional development such as: Alaska Snow Safety Summit and Southcentral Alaska Avalanche Workshop (SAAW) both in Anchorage, Alaska 2015 & 2017, the International Snow Safety Workshop (ISSW) in Breckenridge, Colorado 2016 and AIARE Instructor Training Course (ITC) in Valdez, Alaska 2016. He is now a qualified AIARE Level I and II Course Instructor.

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