As of March 30th, COAC has suspended backcountry avalanche advisories and pro observations until further notice.

On March 23rd, Governor Brown of Oregon issued Stay at Home orders for the public regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. The directives are clear in that “to the maximum extent possible, individuals stay at home or in their place of residence.” On March 27th the Deschutes National Forest issued a closure of all developed recreation sites including trailheads and snoparks. COAC is committed to supporting our community, local emergency services, and agency partners and because of this we felt it important to cease operations as we all work together to minimize the impacts and spread of COVID-19.   

This decision was not taken lightly. Aside from the need to maintain congruency with the Governors' orders, there are inherent risks with backcountry activities in alpine environments and it’s important to consider unnecessary exposure to COAC forecasters, first responders, and local medical staff in light of the current situation.

We look forward to getting back into the mountains and providing you all with the tools to recreate safely in the backcountry. Until then we thank you for your continued support and wish all our mountain community the best of health and wellness.

Snowpack Summary for 12/7/2018

THIS Avalanche Advisory EXPIRED ON Dec 9, 2018 at 8:59 pm
Avalanche Advisory published on Dec 7, 2018 at 8:59 pm
Issued by Gabe Coler
Bottom Line
Due to the relatively light amounts of precipitation that are forecast, I am not expecting a major change in the avalanche hazard over the weekend. I haven't identified any significant avalanche problems for the weekend but by Monday morning it could be a different story. As always, use safe travel techniques and identify isolated features of concern. Any new snow that does fall will be resting on extremely weak snow from last weak (see almost every observation from last week). With only an inch or two of new snow, it isn't dangerous until more snow accumulates and could lead to a Persistent Slab problem later next week. Also, it is rare that snow falls without wind in our mountains so even a few inches of new snow could lead to some shallow Wind Slabs by early next week. Remember wind slabs can be 3-5 times as deep as the new snow in sheltered areas.
Snowpack Discussion
Although unseasonably shallow (60 cm. below treeline) we've had some high quality skiing this week. A bit of rain earlier in the season really pasted in a good base, and then last weekends snow provided good shallow powder. It's only gotten better as cold clear nights have created huge surface hoar. After any precipitation this weekend I'll be looking to see if the surface hoar is preserved and reactive. A few inches over the weekend won't be too dangerous, but could serve to preserve the weak layer as more snow comes in next week. The shovel tilt test will be my "go-to" tool for finding buried surface hoar in the upper snow pack.
Recent Observations
Avalanche activity has been somewhat limited since the last storm cycle with most instabilities being very shallow Loose Dry in character. I did see an older size 2 Wind Slab on the east side of Broken Top that was likely from last weekend.
Mountain Weather
Already we are seeing the end of our cold and clear weather as the first of several fronts move through Central OR. This weekend will bring some light precipitation both overnight and early into Saturday morning (hopefully all snow, maybe a period of freezing rain) and then likely a few inches of snow on Sunday afternoon and evening. Temperatures will be closer to freezing, and the wind will be predominantly from the South and Southwest.

This snowpack summary applies only to backcountry areas. Click here for a map of the area. This snowpack summary describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This snowpack summary expires in 48 hours unless otherwise noted.

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