The Crested Butte backcountry community has lost two of our members in an avalanche near Loveland Pass. Out thoughts are with their friends and families at this time. Please remember to be safe and keep an eye on each other out there.
Due to budgetary constraints, the CBAC has ended daily bulletins for the 2012-2013 season. You can check out the CAIC
’s statewide advisories and stay updated with our posts on Facebook
. Thank you for your support this season! Below are some things to keep in mind for spring riding
The onset of spring has been slow this year. As of late April, a dry, wintery snowpack can still be found at high elevations. If you are traveling in the backcountry this spring, you need to be aware of both dry and wet avalanche problems.
Dry Avalanche Problems:
With spring storms, watch for windslabs to develop at high elevations anytime new snowfall is accompanied by moderate or strong winds. These typically heal quickly following warm temperatures and sun. Larger storms will produce the threat of storm slabs at all elevations. Deep persistent slabs still lurk on high, northerly aspects, and they are most problematic during significant loading events.
Wet Avalanche Problems:
Wet avalanche danger rises during the day as temperatures warm and the sun’s rays strengthen. On warm spring days, melt-water will percolate through the snowpack towards weak layers and raise concern for wet slab avalanches. These are most common during rapid warm-ups or following several nights without a refreeze. For more information on wet slabs, see this article
. Also, fresh snow frequently sheds in the form of wet loose avalanches and slabs can become more sensitive as soon as the sun comes out after a storm.
Monitor snow accumulations and wind-transported snow during spring storms, and expect more accumulations further into the mountains from town. You can check snowfall accumulations at these weather stations
. Back off of aggressive terrain during and shortly after big spring storms. During sunny, spring weather, get an early start and exit avalanche terrain before the snow becomes ankle-deep slush. Avoid avalanche terrain when the snow did not refreeze overnight.
If you are out traveling in the backcountry, feel free to post your comments on current snowpack and avalanche conditions on our Facebook
page. We will also continue to keep you abreast of changing spring conditions with Facebook