** IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT **

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 12/18/2018

THIS Avalanche Advisory EXPIRED ON Dec 20, 2018 at 11:06 pm
Avalanche Advisory published on Dec 18, 2018 at 11:06 pm
Issued by Aaron Hartz
Bottom Line
Currently, our primary weak layer of concern is the buried surface hoar that is now 50 to 80 cm below the surface (deeper on wind loaded slopes). This layer appears to be most reactive on northerly and easterly aspects above 7000ft. No avalanche activity associated with this layer has been reported but on the right slope in the right terrain, triggering an avalanche on this layer could be possible. With the new storm snow and wind from today, wind slabs are once again a likely problem near and above treeline.
Avalanche Character 1: Persistent Slab
The buried surface hoar layer has been very reactive during stability tests in recent days. Although no persistent slab avalanches have been reported, triggering an avalanche on this layer is possible. If you experience a collapse of the snowpack or hear a whumphing sound, retreat to low angle slopes less than 30 degrees steep.
Avalanche Character 2: Wind Slab
During today's storm, wind slabs may have formed below ridge tops and high points on SE through E and NE facing slopes near and above treeline.
Avalanche Character 3: Storm Slab
The new snow has consolidated into a slab. For the next day or two, be cautious in steep and unsupported terrain
Snowpack Discussion
The lower snowpack appears to be mostly strong. Somewhere in the middle of the pack is our weakest layer - the buried surface hoar that is now down 50 to 80cm below the surface (deeper on wind loaded slopes).
The structure of the upper pack (above the buried surface hoar) is generally good
Recent Observations
There have been no reports of avalanches in recent days. However, reports of the buried surface hoar layer acting up have been coming in over the last few days. Wumphing and/or collapsing has been reported from north and east facing terrain below and above treeline. Stability test results on the buried surface hoar layer have varied widely, but notably a handful of people have reported sudden results during compression tests and propagation during extended column tests, associated with this layer.
Mountain Weather
As we savor the new snow from Tuesday.....We may see several inches of snow into Wednesday morning and then the storm backs off. Look for a little more snow on Thursday. The wind is forecast to be out of the west and southwest over the next several days.
Disclaimer

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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