18 Dec 2018

December 18, 2018


    Hi Ho Hi Ho its off to work we go!!

    A few brief breaks in the morning.

    Snowing and blowing early Monday morning.

    There were some good turns to be had.

    Periods of snow pretty much all day.

    Snowing at 16:00 hrs.

    Raining below 1000 meters Monday evening.

    Leading edge of front arrived Monday morning.

Weather Observations for December 18, 2018  taken at 06:00 Hours.

2240 meters       -5, Winds were 65-85 KPH S--Horstman Hut
2180 meters       -4, Winds were 70-85 KPH S--Whistler Peak
1860 meters       -3, Winds were 20-45 KPH S--Rendevous
1835 meters       -3, Winds were 15-30 KPH ESE--Round House
1650 meters       -2, 28 cm of new, 31 cm in 24 hrs, Base 207 cm--Pig Alley
1565 meters        0, 21 cm of new, 23 cm in 24 hrs, Base 144 cm--Catskinner
  660 meters        0, Valley Temp, Max temp Yesterday was +0.2, 0.0 mm of precip recorded yest

    As of 07:15 Hrs tis am we have obscured skies, limited visibility and snowing 2cm per hour .


A weakening upper trough will bring periods of light/moderate snow this morning tapering this afternoon
in a Southwest flow aloft, switching to Westerly this afternoon.. The FL is hovering in the 1000 meter range and may drop to 800 meters later this afternoon. A very weak dirty ridge will bring mostly cloudy skies but flurries for Wednesday before an atmospheric river arrives Wednesday night into Thursday. The FL for this event may stay in the 1400-1200 meter range and there is even a chance it may stay closer to 1000 meters. Another very weak ridge for Friday will bring unsettled weather with the FL dropping to surface.  Guesstimates: 10-15 cm by Wednesday morning, 30-40 cm by Thursday morning, 10-20 cm by Friday morning, trace-2 cm by Saturday morning.

    GOES IR image this am.

    Low to our North will exit with a lull between fronts this afternoon.

    Fronts along the coast.

    Low well offshore and migrating South.

   Frontal band moving in from the South.

    Hopefully enough cold air will mix with the warm front to keep the FL down.

    Cooling down on Friday.


   Skier buried in an avalanche in the Lizard Range, Saturday.    MIN Report below.    M. Halik Pic

    Sz 1 Sa, many soft slabs out there yesterday morning.

   Avalanche control yesterday produced Sz 1-2 Xe, Sc, Xa, Xb, Xl soft slabs.

   Old Na Fx line from during the last storm .


    Always a good idea to scope out your line from the chair if you can!!

    Rendevous Deck Monday morning.

    Lots of snow in the trees.

    Flurries and periods of light snow most of the day. 

   Upper elevation snow was dry.

   Sa Sz 1 soft slab.

    Yesterdays frontal band.

    Atmospheric river North of Hawaii.

From Avalanche Canada MIN Reports:

Steep Creek: Dec 16, 2018

Zoa PeakDec 16, 2018

Corbin Close call: Dec 15, 2018

From South Coast Touring;

    Ally Gundy
    Please don’t be this guy at the trailhead. Thanks in advance! 

From Grant Gunderson:
Mt. Baker friends. The avalanche conditions right now are EXTREMELY dangerous. So I chose to help patrol out with getting the ski area set up for opening the last two days. Yesterday I was caught in a slide while helping them. Pro Patrol did Avalanche control in the morning and I was then helping them mark a few rocks / cliffs before they opened the Chute. I was standing on a big flat ledge and had just placed a cliff sign, when a slab broke behind me 4 feet to ground. I ended up airing over a portion of the cliff hit the knuckle with my skis then got washed over the rocks. (See pic bellow). I am extremely lucky that I ended up with only relatively minor injuries. A separated shoulder and a few avulsion fractures in my ankle. The good news is the doc thinks I will only be out for a couple of weeks, so I should be back skiing and shooting by New Years. I am defiantly going to be wearing a helmet for now on too.
The slope broke on a facet / hoarfrost layer we have at the bottom of our snow pack… something we very rarely see in the PNW. The area that slid on me had been controlled with explosives and numerous patrollers had already skied that area working to get the run open. Yet it still slid. This is a very difficult layer to predict and when it does release it will go to ground.
The side country is going to take at long time to be safe unless we get a rain cycle. All of this new snow is only contributing to the load, and can even give a false sense of stability while a very dangerous combination of layers exist bellow.
Mt. Baker has one of the best teams of employees, Pro Patrol / Avy control teams on the continent. Please have some patience for them as they are dealing with very challenging conditions while they are making the ski area safe for everyone. Please respect the areas they have closed. They are closed for a very good reason, and they will get everything open as soon as its safe.


Avalanche danger high in the Cascades: K5News

Alliance forms to protect interests of Backcountry Skiers: Jackson Hole  

Reason for Avalanche Work: Castanet

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